Ha Ji Won Signs with Hollywood Agency UTA for her International Career

Looks like the upcoming epic sageuk Empress Ki (formerly known as Hwatu but got its named changed to avoid confusion with the same-name Korean card game) may be the last time we get to see Ha Ji Won in a K-drama for the near future. She recently left her long time agency Wellmade STARM, which I totally support since it was that lame agency which made her star in the terrible sageuk movie The Huntresses (Joseon’s Three Beauties) because it was producing it. She formed her own agency called Sun and Moon Entertainment, with the name courtesy of Ha Ji Won herself based on her dream of becoming an actress who shines as bright as the sun and moon. I thought that would be it for her recent behind-the-scenes activity but the lady isn’t done cleaning house and making new strategic decisions on her career. Ha Ji Won just signed an exclusive international contract with Hollywood agency UTA (United Talent Agency) as she takes her first step towards an acting career beyond Asia. UTA has a huge list of actors under its umbrella including mega A-listers like Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. Only a handful of Korean entertainers have signed with Hollywood agencies so this is a big break for Ha Ji Won. Some notables include Rain who is signed with William Morris Endeavor while Lee Byung Hun has his own agency in Korea but is signed with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) overseas. Ha Ji Won is undoubtedly one of the top actresses in Korea but she has yet to step foot overseas whether with a movie that has gained international recognition or working in a Hollywood flick. I hope UTA finds her the right roles and she gets her English good enough to really go for it overseas. If she succeeds in crossing over, she’ll join a few of her fellow K-actresses who have some international name recognition such as Jeon Do Yeon, Jeon Ji Hyun, and Bae Do Na. Since Hwatu is a 50-episode sageuk that won’t finish airing until Spring of 2014, I see Ha Ji Won’s next project after that an international one since why sign with UTA and then not do anything with them.

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Ha Ji Won Signs with Hollywood Agency UTA for her International Career — 35 Comments

  1. Im a big Ha Ji Won fan and hope she doest get stuck with generic Hollywood films like Lee Byung Hun wasting his talent in GI Joe.

  2. Ha Ji Won has long been my favorite K-actress, so this makes me very happy. Hollywood has a dearth of good action actresses in my opinion so I hope to see her there soon (so long as her English has improved). So excited for her!

  3. Ha Ji Won needs more than a international agency to push her career. Girl needs to get away from being typecast. She is so talented and is wasting it playing the same role in different movies and dramas over and over again.

    Hope her new drama is a departure from her recent roles. 🙂

    • I respectfully disagree with you about her being typecast. However I do agree that she is very talented/versatile actress. Maybe the reason why you said that is because of her doing a lot of actions lately like SeGa, TK2H and The Huntress. Actually, she has done different roles and won and award for it too, her movies and dramas. 🙂

  4. Good English language skills are a must in Hollywood. There’s only a handful of Asian actors that have made it. Zhiyi Zhang, Gong Li, Chow Yung Fat, Jackie Chan (although he’s typecasted in action comedies). I know that Hollywood pays very well compared to Asian production companies. Good luck to her.

    • Jackie Chan is typecasted in action comedies? He is/was world famous for action comedies/ martial arts film and Hollywood used him to make money on that just they typecast every star to make money on their fame.

      Everyone is typecasted in Hollywood, even Daniel Day-Lewis is typecasted for serious,dark roles.

  5. She’s rather old to be attempting an advancement like this – reminds of Lee Byung Heon who is already 43. I mean, when you have Hollywood actresses (who speak English and generally fit the prevailing standard of beauty held by target audiences) who communicate their frustration about the absence of roles for women approaching middle age, where does this leave newcomers like her?

    • Lee Byung Hun was known to western audience before he made Hollywood movies because he was in several korean films that were internationally famous like a Bittersweet Life, I Saw The Devil, Joint Security Area. Ha Ji Won dont have those kinds of films on her resume.

      Old is relative She is her mid 30s and younger than several hollywood female stars. Most hollywood female stars are early 40s or older. Jolie,Zeta Jones,Helen Mirren,Blancett etc

      • She has maybe 1% of the star power of the people you mentioned when it comes to Western audiences. Yes, her age will be a problem – no point in denying it.

      • FYI Joli is not in her 40s. This is a change Hollywood is having to make when China is becoming a huge factor in making movies/selling movies.
        See articles on major blockbusters its all about overseas and China.

  6. Which is why i said she will have much harder time than Lee Byung Hu who was internationally famous before he did Hollywood films.

    Who says she must become a superstar like those biggest female Hollywood actors? she can work her up to mid level hollywood star with some good roles. Frankly i dont want to her to go to Hollywood at all. Just like the best korean directors are better with korean films than their new Hollywood films, Lee Byung Hun is better with korean films, Chow Yun-Fat, John Woo was better with The Killer, hong kong actions than their tame copeies in Hollywood.

    For us international fans great dramas,great Korean films is better than lame hollywood films with the best korean stars.

  7. I’m a fan of HJW. Only time will tell if signing on with UTA will be productive or not.
    The only actors I can think of that have instant name recognition with the general public are Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Maybe Sanada Hiroyuki.
    I wish her the best.

  8. Why is her entertainment company – for a Korean audience – made up of primarily white folks? That’s rather strange.

  9. Recently most of Hollywood’s profit has been coming from the Asian markets……especially China, Japan and Korea so we will be seeing more Asian stars in Hollywood films. The future looks good for Asian stars…….but I hope they will demand better roles.

  10. I have the biggest girl crush on her and I’m happy she’s trying to get into another market! It’s probably something she has always wanted to do and I wish her the best.

  11. There are bound to have difficulties and risks in all new ventures. However we will never know the outcome until we give it a try. At the end of the day, its better to try than to regret for not giving it a go when given the opportunity. I’m sure she had weighed the pros and cons for entering the international market at this stage.
    We do not know the type of goal she has set for herself for this outing. Perhaps, she is not eyeing for super stardom but more to gain some overseas exposure. Whatever, if things don’t work out as well as she intends it to, its ok as there must be some take-way from this participation. She can give herself a pat back on the back for the courage to challenge the unknown. She can still return to do Kdramas/movies and then perhaps to settle down and concentrate on raising a family. So, three cheers to HJW for the try.

    • Well said. Even if she isnt making Hollywood star she can become international star. Look at Zhang Ziyi she is known internationally despite all her famous films are Chinese films,Hong Kong films that are known,famous even here in Sweden. Crouching Tiger film, Wong Kai Fai films like the new Grandmaster of hers are in the cinema over here.

      You can be big international star with films from your own country or films you do in other countries in Asia.

    • Agree that its worth giving it a try but hope she doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Lee Byung-hun and only takes on roles that make her grow & interesting roles. Its not about being the Asian girl or not, but about just being put there as decoration instead of an effective part of the story. I find Japanese actors who went international took better roles (like Watanabe Ken..). In any case wish her luck but i hope she keeps in touch with the korean industry as well 😉

  12. I am so elated for Ji Won! Whatever the future may hold for her…I wish her the best of luck and hope that she knows that’s it’s about the journey not the destination.

    Regarding her age she’s 34/35? Wow! She looks AMAZING for her age. She can pass as mid to late 20’s in my opinion.

    AJA! Ji Won <3

  13. Goodluck HJW on your new venture. I’m looking forward to see you in Hollywood films and looking forward to her drama even though it’s going to be long.

  14. I just saw Red 2 in a few days ago, and it was painful to watch Lee Byung-hun in that. Strangely in a different way or different pain then to watch John Malkovich in it. LBH was the asian guy and Malkovich was an old fool(not because of the character).

    HJW will be the same, she’ll be getting rolls about being an asian woman like Gong Li. For a while I wanted MGY to be an international actress, but no one care how she acts unfortunately. 🙁

    • HJW has been in this industry for years. Believe she must be aware of the going ons in the market, the limited roles available, her own imitations as well as her strength. Since she has already taken up the collaboration and is prepared to go for it, we will cheer her on and support her, whatever the outcome.

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