Crazy over ‘Julian’

() - July 23, 2006 - 12:00am
Say, "Lee Dong-Wook is here" and many people will ask, "What?" instead of "Who"? Say, "Julian is here" and a throng of fans immediately crops up. Each of the fans will survey the venue to find where their Korean Idol, lead of ABS-CBN’s My Girl, is.

That’s how Lee/Julian’s popularity can be described these days. Julian/Lee is a typical heartthrob. He’s tall and handsome. But he’s fair-skinned rather than dark.

As if you don’t know, Lee is the young executive who wants to grant his grandfather’s request to see the latter’s granddaughter, Julian’s cousin. She lives in Japan.

Much like the genie in the fairy tale, Julian holds the key to improving his grandfather’s deteriorating health. Though he tried his best to locate his cousin, Julian’s efforts are not enough. Out of desperation and exasperation, he hatches a plan and hires Jasmine to play his long-lost cousin.

She agrees and Jasmine temporarily lives in Julian’s house. They discover the best in each other and fall in love.

With his endearing looks, plus the goody-goody role he plays in the Koreanovela, Lee has become popular among Koreanovela fanatics and his character, Julian, has become a household name.

ABS-CBN brings Lee in town to meet his fans and see for himself how big his fanbase here is.

"This is my first time here," says Lee in Korean at the presscon given by ABS-CBN. "I never expected the warm reception."

Before showbiz, Lee was just a high school student, with simple needs and wants. He enrolled in an acting school and auditioned for TV programs. Unlike other actors, he was never discovered nor approached by a manager. He worked hard on his own. After all the attempts, Lee finally made it and entered showbiz at 18.

As the cliché goes, the rest is history.

In Korea, Lee is a heartthrob and a fast-rising star. In terms of popularity and perhaps achievements, he is the equivalent of Piolo Pascual hereabouts. Aside from My Girl, Lee has done TV series like Hanoi Bride and Loving You. He is also in the country to promote his recent movie Arang, where Lee plays a detective who handles a mysterious investigation. His character is offbeat.

Asked who is the better actor – him or Rain of A Love to Kill, Lee replies, "Rain is already popular in some Asian countries. He plans to try Hollywood. There’s no point of comparing Rain with me or vice-versa."

With his popularity, it’s not surprising if ABS-CBN cooks up a TV or movie project for Lee. And he says he’d love to do it.

As for Arang, an ABS-CBN official says Star Cinema executives are discussing about its possible release in the country.

As an actor, Lee has tried all the acting genres. He says that he is closer to the character of Julian than the one he plays in Arang.

"Julian is shy and mum when it comes to showing his feelings and emotions. The detective character, on the other hand, is far cry from the real me. He is very complex. I had to be prepared psychologically and mentally for the role."

How does he find the Philippines? Lee replies, "It’s known for beautiful places like Boracay and Cebu. On my flight to Manila, I found out that you have a beautiful sky."

Lee doesn’t only find the Philippines beautiful. He finds the women gorgeous, too. He says, "there’s a possibility that a Filipina could be my wife."

With swooning girls and ladies around, Lee ended the presscon on the right note.

He proclaimed, "Mahal ko kayo."

Did we hear someone sigh?

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