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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Running success from South Korea


Running Man, another phenomenal export from South Korea, features a mix of reality TV, variety show, games and competition. Get to know the current members of the running team.


Who: Outside of Running Man, this runway model-turned-entertainer has acted in films such as The Scent (2012) and TV drama The Innocent Man (2012), mostly in comedic roles. For Running Man, his most well-known show, he won the award for Variety New Star in 2010 at the SBS Entertainment Awards and then a New Star Award at the same event a year later.

Running Man persona: Aptly nicknamed Giraffe due to his 1.9m height, he is massively popular and often gets the loudest fan cheers outside of South Korea, such as in Macau and Vietnam – hence he is known as the Asian Prince. On the flip side, he tends to betray his teammates for his own gain, so he is nicknamed The Betrayer as well.


Who: Debuted in 1995 as part of pop duo Turbo before splitting six years later (2001) to pursue a solo music career. Despite his muscular, jock-like appearance, he is known for his soothing gentle ballads such as Lovable and Walking In One Spot. He won the coveted Daesang Award for Best Artiste Of The Year from all three major Korean broadcasters MBC, KBS and SBS in 2005. In 2010, he joined Running Man and won the SBS Entertainment Award for Best TV Star the following year.

Running Man persona: A regular winner of the missions based on his strength alone. But he is not all brawn either: He also uses his brain to outwit the others in the challenges, making him a hard one to beat. Nicknamed The Commander as well as Sparta Kook, after the formidable Spartan army of old.


Who: A veteran comedian and variety show host famous for his quick wit. His resume includes popular variety shows Family Outing (2008 to 2010), Happy Together Friends (2005 to 2007) and Infinite Challenge (2005 to present). He has a string of awards to his name, including the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the SBS Entertainment Awards last year and the Daesang (Grand Prize) at the Baeksang Arts Awards this year. He is married to former TV announcer Na Kyung Eun, 32, and they have a son.

Running Man persona: Noted for his ability to escape from tough situations. His all-around good-guy image and intelligence make him one of the most popular and well-liked members of the Running Man team in fan polls.


Who: This model-turned-actress (with muscle-man Kim Jong Kook) was one of the leads in the hit Korean drama Princess Hours (2006) and also starred in popular period drama Jumong (2007). In 2011, she received the Outstanding Female Award in the variety show category at the SBS Entertainment Awards for Running Man. She is reportedly dating Baek Chang Joo, chief executive of her management agency C-Jes Entertainment.

Running Man persona: She may be the only woman in the cast, but she is no damsel in distress, often stunning the others with her stealth and skills in winning challenges, and is thus known as Ace.


Who: After making his debut as a singer in 1992, he gained fame as a variety show host when he became the main host of hit variety quiz show Star Golden Bell (2004 to 2010). Other popular variety shows he has hosted include Heroine (2004 to 2006) and High-Five (2007 to 2008). He has three awards for Excellence in the variety category from KBS Entertainment Awards, including for Running Man last year. He is married with a son.

Running Man persona: He is the oldest member and also arguably the weakest of the cast, having won the mission only once since the show debuted three years ago. Sometimes, the other cast members joke that the missions truly begin only after he is eliminated.

HAHA, 34

Who: Debuted as a singer and rapper with the now-defunct boyband Jikiri in 2001, before gaining popularity as a co-host of the talk show What's Up Yo! a year later. He showed off his comic timing in the sitcom Nonstop (2006) before becoming a co-host of popular variety show Infinite Challenge (2005 to 2008). He continues to work on his music that has been described as a combination of K-pop and reggae. Last November, he married singer Byul, 29, and their son was born in July this year.

Running Man persona: The joker of the group, he always has everyone in stitches with his many random exclamations of frustration when he loses a challenge. Nicknamed Haroro due to his small build and resemblance to cartoon character Pororo The Little Penguin, he is also quite the flirt with female celebrity guest stars. Like Lee, he is scheming and often betrays his own teammates, so he is also known as the Betrayer.

GARY, 35

Who: Born Kang Hee Gun, the rapper is one-half of hip-hop duo Leessang, with vocalist Gil Seong Joon.

Running Man persona: He and fellow cast member Song Ji Hyo are often teased on the show for their attraction to each other; and as the show was originally filmed on Mondays, the two were soon known as the Monday Couple.

He is also often mocked for his ability to forever maintain a serene facial expression on the show, no matter what happens. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> Running Man airs every Saturday at 4pm on TV2 (Astro Ch 102 / HyppTV Ch 102). Lee Kwang Soo will meet fans in Malaysia at KWC Fashion Mall in Kuala Lumpur at 7pm on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014. Tickets, priced at RM498, RM298 and RM158, are available online at and all TicketPro, Rock Corner and Victoria Music outlets. For more info, go to or call 03-7880 7999.

The grief of a First Lady


Ginnifer Goodwin talks about working on Killing Kennedy.

IT was 50 years ago that United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald. National Geographic Channel's Killing Kennedy chronicles the lives of these two men that ended at a point which altered the course of history. Based on a best-selling book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Kennnedy stars Rob Lowe (Kennedy), Will Rothhaar (Oswald), Michelle Trachtenberg (Marina Oswald) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Jacqueline Kennedy). In a transcript provided by the channel, Goodwin talked about working on this project.

What was it like to play such an iconic character?

There was a bit of pressure going into playing Jackie Kennedy, as I'm sure there was with any of the roles in this film. I have read other scripts in which Jackie appeared and I have blatantly not wanted to touch her. She is, I think, every modern woman's idol, and so it was important to me that, if I ever did play her, I felt empowered to do justice to the person she was.

What about this script made you want to finally play her?

This is the first time I read a script involving Jackie that I felt had a little bit of everything. It is respectful, it is intimate and revealing, and the narrative is captivating. I could not put the script down, and I was really inspired. Ultimately, I think what really attracted me was that, in this story, we are showing so many private moments, which gave me a little more creative freedom than I even realised going into it. I had not really thought about the public version of her versus the private version of her. Then I started researching the role and thought, of course, and found there is almost no information about what happened behind closed doors. There are a lot of assumptions, and I think most people, including me, project onto them what we want these people to have been. But because almost all of the Jackie scenes in this film take place behind closed doors, as an actress,there was something liberating, something that took some of the pressure off and made it a little less overwhelming.

Why should people see this film?

What was attractive to me about it, and what I think the audience is going to love, is that it is so incredibly educational and yet the story is so riveting and personal and intimate and relatable and devastating and ugly and idyllic, all at the same time — much like real life. It is also like we have been filming two different movies: one on the Kennedys and one on the Oswalds. Our director, Nelson McCormick, describes this as being like two trains coming from two different ends of the universe on a collision course. When I read the script, I hoped there would be a different ending. Clearly, all of us know what is going to happen moment for moment, and yet there is something about the building of tension mixed with these beautiful, quiet moments that does make you almost think something else could happen.

> Catch Killing Kennedy on Dec 1 at 9pm on National Geographic Channel (Astro Ch 553).

'Sleepy Hollow': A sleeper hit


The enigmatic Tom Mison talks about balancing humour and drama in Sleepy Hollow.

NOBODY would ever accuse the new series Sleepy Hollow of being just another crime procedural. Not when the crimes involve a mysterious Headless Horseman, and an evil conspiracy that reaches back to the Revolutionary War.

And not when the leading man is Ichabod Crane, the Washington Irving character who, in this telling, was the one who relieved the Horseman of his head, in bloody, circa-1776 battle.

And not when Crane wakes up inside a dank cave and walks out into the modern world, and almost instantly joins forces with a police lieutenant who works in the village of Sleepy Hollow.

That all this works – and works so well that Sleepy Hollow has already been renewed for Season Two – has a great deal to do with the charismatic, witty, dashing performance of Tom Mison as Crane.

The British actor and writer has previously been little-known in the United States, with a resume heavy on stage work but light on more mainstream fare. Aside from roles in the film, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, and the miniseries, Parade's End, Mison hasn't had much opportunity to register with American audiences.

All that has changed with Sleepy Hollow, in which Mison's charm and immediate chemistry with his co-star, Nicole Beharie, have made the Brit something of a heartthrob – despite Crane's centuries-old garments.

"At least he gave them a wash in the sink," Mison says. "So he's considerate."

In a conference call with reporters, Mison fielded questions about such matters as when we'll see Crane finally get a new outfit – "I was wondering how long it would be before that question came up" – and how he approaches the role of Crane and the more outlandish elements of the show's storyline.

In conversation, Mison displays the same playful humour that makes Crane's encounters with the mysteries of modern life so drolly delightful (he's offended by the high cost of baked goods, i.e. doughnut holes, and mystified by the multiplicity of Starbucks locations.)

Here are highlights from the interview:

On that costume: Mison promises Crane will wear more modern clothes "soon," but that the show's creative team (the co-creators and executive producers are Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, whose credits include Fringe, and the Star Trek movie) and he liked giving Ichabod "an iconic look".

And there's character motivation behind his period style, complete with long coat and tall boots. Crane is "a long way from home," Mison says. "250 years away from home", so he's inclined to hold on to anything that reminds him of his time. Mison says whenever we're thinking how much those clothes must stink, "think of (them) as a big, stinking security blanket".

On the character of Ichabod Crane: Mison says when he's playing Crane, he's trying to "work out how moody someone would be after they come out of the ground" after all those years. There are "so many plates that need to be spun" to keep Ichabod on track, Mison says, adding that the part is difficult, but enjoyable to play.

On the show's preposterous premise: "I always like to have faith that an audience will suspend their disbelief," Mison says, if "you present it to them in the right way." He had no real trepidation taking the role, he adds, and had "faith in the great American public" that they would come along for the ride.

On balancing the comedy and drama of Crane: The character is shown in the 18th century, finding out that the fate of the world is being threatened by the Headless Horseman (who, it turns out, is Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse). And then he's comically reacting to chugging an energy drink in the modern world. And he's mourning his wife, who's trapped in limbo and is, oh yeah, a witch.

Keeping all this in balance is part of the job, Mison says. "The temptation could be to just go nuts on the comedy." But in the pilot, he and Len Wiseman, who directed, worked out that "the only way you can really sell the comedy is to play it as straight as the serious stuff ... Everything is very real for Ichabod, so we have to try to play everything straight."

That's a saving grace, Mison adds. "It stops me from hamming it up."

On his chemistry with Nicole Beharie: Beharie plays Lt. Abbie Mills, the Sleepy Hollow cop who has her own experience with the supernatural and who teams up with Crane as they learn more about the strange, deadly goings-on in Sleepy Hollow. Mison laughs at the inevitable question of whether there will ever be romantic sparks between Crane and the "leftenant," as he pronounces her title.

"I think there's certainly something magic between Ichabod and Abbie," he says. "They certainly have a connection." If anything were to happen between them, Mison says, "it would certainly be fiery." – The Oregonian/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

> Sleepy Hollow premieres on Nov 27 at 9.50pm on Fox (Astro Ch 710).


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