However, that changed once Henney was introduced to Korean drama fans.“Literally, right after the episode aired, my phone started ringing,” remembers Chung. ’ Magazines, reporters, commercial clients all started calling. As a foreigner, I thought that the quality was pretty bad. was one of the first dramas filmed on HD film, which was brand new at the time.”The writers started adding scenes for Henney to capitalize on the newfound fan flurry surrounding him, but imagine being given English lines that were written by native Korean speakers.In addition to his acting duties, Henney would often stay up nights rewriting the awkwardly phrased dialogue.“After the 14],” says Henney. People were freaking out, and it kept getting bigger and bigger, to the point where I was meeting the president.He has been quoted as saying that his mastery of the Korean language is like that of a 12-year-old, he cannot fully handle an all-Korean cultural situation and he’s not yet comfortable with the Korean style of emotional expression.
Around 2005, Henney landed an Olympus camera ad opposite Gianna Jun (Jun Ji-hyun), a Korean actress well-known for her roles in . Henry Kim, the dashing American surgeon, was small at this point—Henney still couldn’t speak Korean, so how prominent could an English-speaking role in a Korean drama be?
—so he packed one suitcase, thinking he’d stay for a couple months. “But I never took it seriously because I didn’t realize the clout or the power of the Korean drama.
v=2gy-a Frypq A “There’s so much baggage with that role," Chiou says.
“Long Duk Dong was so formative in so many people’s perception of Asian-Americans, and it’s so powerful.” Asian men have a unique set of stereotypes to contend with.
While Henney has had top billing in Korea for many years, is not only his first lead in an English-language film, it’s also his first comedic role.“I’m going to do this scene, but you have to reel me back if I go too far,” Henney recalls telling director Daniel Hsia. Therefore, they had to find a way to merge their two styles.“I think it worked out really well,” says Henney, “Daniel [Hsia] came up with the scenes, like the one with the tea cup,” referring to a perfectly-timed joke where Sam awkwardly slurps up some tea leaves at a business meeting and tries to play it cool. But I was the one that came up with the amount of asshole that Sam is.”Though he doesn’t possess Sam’s cocky self-entitlement, Henney says he identified a great deal with Sam’s character.
“Remember, [I have to be an] asshole, but [a] likable asshole.”While filming the movie, Henney says he learned there’s no such thing as a sense of humor, but senses of humor. Having been an expat in Korea for so many years, he understood what it was like to be plopped in the middle of a culture you don’t understand.Henry Kim in the drama , and soon after that, became a household name in Korea, with leading man roles on the small and big screens, as well as high-profile ad campaigns, like the 2005 one for the South Korean fashion brand Bean Pole International that co-starred Gwyneth Paltrow.The Michigan-born Henney had decided to relocate to Korea in the first place because he wasn’t getting the acting opportunities he wanted in the U. But when he got to Seoul, he realized he had a lot to learn before he could even be competitive in Hollywood.story by ADA TSENG photographs by MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK/Corbis | styling: JULIET VO grooming: ERICA SAUER @ The Wall Group | stylist’s assistants: LAURYN STONE and TESS OAKLANDFor the past eight years, Korean American actor Daniel Henney has been juggling roles on both sides of the Pacific.Adored as a heartthrob in Korean dramas and films, Henney shot to stardom after playing Dr.And despite two recent ABC comedies with Asian leads — “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Dr.