Friday, April 06, 2007

Daniel Henney plays Korean-American Adoptee - a reference to Toby Dawson ?

Toby Dawson and his Korean dad, Kim Jae-su

Daniel Henney, Korean-American model/actor

Will Daniel Henney spread 'stardust' to the issue of the returning of Korea's many adoptees who are now grown up and to some extent wish to (re)connect with their lost birth family and birth culture? Or is it rather a poorly hidden parallel to the 'glamour story' of Toby Dawson, the Korean-American adoptee and OL-winner, who recently was reconnected with his Korean dad - with the "assistance" of the Korean media!?

Daniel Henney, being a Korean-American posses a physical beauty and a cool charisma, which I guess has been the driving force behind his rising fame as a model/actor in the Korean entertainment business, is now filming a new movie, called "My Father".

He plays an adoptee - Korean-American - who returns to Korea to find his father. (Toby Dawson wasn't actively looking for his father, according to the media story). I've seen my fair share of k-dramas and also DH's acting skills - and to be honest.. well, he's not that great an actor (yet). There's also the language issue.. but what I find interesting is that Daniel's mother is a Korean-American adoptee. I guess he has experienced situations throughout his life so far that could give input to his acting role.

Still, what surprised me the most upon finding this piece of news on the online Chosun was that to my knowledge, this is the first time for the Korean entertainment industry to have a star-actor playing the tragic and non-sympathetic part of 'the adoptee'? So far adoptees in movies and tv-dramas have been portrayed as poorly educated, lowlife individuals with a tragic fate, e.g. Sorry I love you

Is the clock turning? Is the issue of adoption and the returning of the now grown-up adoptees becoming less taboo? And as such, is media portraying of adoptees becoming less stereotyped and more diversified? However, the current media 'appetite' goes towards promoting 'half-Koreans' as Koreans if they have excelled as e.g. models or sports men.

That's how business is.. - so, I guess if 'we' (using ' ' since I don't wanna make statements on behalf of all adoptees) the returning adoptees have excelled in life and thus can be used to show off in the international arena in order to promote Korea - well - once again 'we' are on the task of pleasing and succeeding in order to be accepted. *SIGH*


Blogger Just said...

Hi Brit,
Sunny Jo put your entry on K@W and that's how I got to see it. Most of the time I delete those emails, because there are so many...but this one caught my attention...and to my surprise this was one by written by you.

When I lived in Korea, this was one of the issues that got me pretty pissed off. If I remember it correctly, things started off when Hines Ward was awarded MVP of the American Football league and Koreans started claiming him as their own. Especially discrimination against black Korean Americans is tremendous in Korea, which I found incredible hipocritical (I have a few mixed friends). After that came Toby...and the media were just reacting in a way which is so inappropriate. They measure with two different scales and only the winners are treated in a favorable way. I just couldn't believe what I heard and read.

I think you are right by saying that things are changing and fortunately, when things change in Korea, they change fast. It might be for the wrong reasons...but im pretty positive that change in under way..and we can only support it by coming back to our ever increasing numbers...:-)

Have a great easter weekend,
Best, Just

1:56 PM  
Blogger Rachel Udin said...

<-- Korean Adoptee

I agree that we have to wait and see how he does. I want to see if Koreans finally get the grasp of the dual identity (not that other countries as I've seen so far have done better.) If they bomb this chance, hell, we should gather together adoptees and make our own fictional movie for once. I'm getting a bit tired of not seeing a fair representation.

My hopes are a bit high because of Daniel Henney's mom... I hope he consults her and puts his input into the script--I've seen that with Korean scripts where the actor has say. I'm waiting for a movie or show I can point to and say that's a fair representation of an adoptee... representing all identities.

As for unfair representation of adoptees... since I'm taking Culture and Communication I've tried to boil it down on my blog to how the language functions. ^^;;

If the Koreans can beat the Americans (where I'm at now) I'll be proud of them.

3:42 PM  

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