Jang Jin

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Jang Jin
Jang Jin from acrofan.jpg
Born (1971-02-24) February 24, 1971 (age 52)
EducationSeoul Institute of the Arts
Occupation(s)Film director, Theatre director, Playwright, Screenwriter, Film producer, Actor
Years active1995-present
SpouseCha Young-eun (m. 2007)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationJang Jin
McCune–ReischauerChang Chin

Jang Jin (born February 24, 1971) is a South Korean film director, theatre director, playwright, screenwriter, film producer, actor and TV personality.[1]

Considered one of the most distinctive voices to emerge from the 1990s Korean cinema renaissance, Jang's unique filmmaking style mixes unconventional storylines, quirky characters, dry and subversive humor, comic twists, sharp puns, stagy presentation, a keen observation of society, and humanism. Jang’s films do not sell millions of tickets but he has nurtured a faithful fan base that appreciates his "Jang Jin-ish" style.[2]


Jang Jin dreamed of becoming a musician in middle school, but his ambition changed when he saw his first theater play in his freshman year of high school. As a high school student, he acted in more than 40 plays, receiving good reviews and a few awards for his performances. After majoring in theater studies at Seoul Institute of the Arts, he joined the writing team for the SBS variety show Good Friends in the mid 1990s. He created his own portion Hollywood Message, which he wrote and edited by himself, where he would take famous scenes from some of the most popular Hollywood films showing in theaters, and make parodies, add silly popups, mix scenes from different films together to form a bizarre, unique collage of images. Because of his contribution, ratings for the show surged to unexpected heights.[3]

In January 1995, Jang entered newspaper daily The Chosun Ilbo's annual literary contest with Cheonho-dong Crossroad, his first full-fledged script. Using three characters which would feature in most of his theater plays and early films (Hwa-yi, Dal-soo and Deok-bae), his new and creative brand of storytelling won over the judges, who awarded him the top prize. He wrote his first stage play Heotang ("labor in vain") at the age of 21 while serving his military duty,[4] and his followup Clumsy People,[5][6][7] not only granted him much praise, but was also a big success, and allowed actress Song Chae-hwan to win the Best Actress Award at the Seoul Theater Festival. At the same time, he was helping adapt Song Jae-hee's original into what became A Hot Roof, a feminist comedy where a group of women from all walks of life protest their position in society from the roof of a building, while their husbands and the rest of the city try to cope with all that in the midst of one of the hottest summers Korea had ever seen.[3]

It would take another few years before Jang could start working full-time in Chungmuro, but during that time, he built a reputation as one of the most brilliant theater directors in the country, with unique scripts and characters who came across as real even in the most surreal of situations. His 1997 play Taxi Driver was a huge success, displaying his wit and talent for snappy dialogue. The original starred Choi Min-sik as Deok-bae, a taxi driver from the countryside who decides to come to the city, buys a private taxi after his mother sold some land, and hopes to finally make a change in his miserable life.[3]

The success of his theater plays raised his profile in the industry. Veteran TV drama director Kim Jong-hak commissioned Jang for a script, but the project was delayed. Jang decided to shop around his script, which led to his debut feature 1998 comedy The Happenings (though only half of what he shot ended up in the final cut).[3]

In 1999 Jang founded the theater troupe Suda, and among his regulars were Jung Gyu-soo, Shin Ha-kyun, Jung Jae-young and Jang Young-nam. After working on the play Magic Time, he then shot his second film The Spy, a comedy starring Yoo Oh-sung as a North Korean spy trying to steal the magic formula of the South's "super pig" to combat the famine.[3]

The rest of Jang's career brought him to the top of Korea's A-list directors, with the same brand of "Jang Jin style" crowd pleasers, such as Guns & Talks, a black comedy about four talkative assassins. In 2000 Jang established his own film production outfit Film It Suda, hiring his "family" of fellow writers, producers and directors. Their first production was the three-part omnibus No Comment in 2002.[3][8]

With his theater and film successes, Jang was finally able to move on to producing and his real passion, writing. But the huge flop of the 2003 melodrama A Man Who Went to Mars (also known as A Letter from Mars, which Jang wrote) brought the company's future to a serious crossroad: either focus on hot items or risk losing everything. Though the aftermath of the film's failure was felt even in 2004, romantic comedy Someone Special had a decent box office performance despite the film's low budget, as well as glowing reviews for its stars Lee Na-young and Jung Jae-young.[9][10] Jang then focused on adapting his successful 2000 theater play Leave When They're Applauding into the big screen. The result was 2005's Murder, Take One, about a homicide case being broadcast live for 48 hours, a whodunit with a campy take on the ratings-obsessed media and the viewers' craze for reality TV.[3][11][12][13][14]

But it would be another of the company's films that became one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of 2005. Adapted by Jang from his same-titled 2002 play,[15] Welcome to Dongmakgol is the story of a remote mountain village where North and South Korean soldiers as well as an American soldier are stranded during the Korean War. The fantasy dramedy was the debut feature of Park Kwang-hyun, one of several of Jang's colleagues from his theater days who joined Film It Suda.[12]

In August 2005 Jang served as theatre director for the first time on a play he didn't write himself. He directed his fellow Seoul Institute of the Arts alumni in a staging of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. The play commemorated the 43rd anniversary for Dongnang Arts Center affiliated to the institute and the 100th birthday of the late Yu Chi-jin, founder of the institute and the nation's first amphitheater.[16]

After his doing his takes on the gangster genre (2006's Righteous Ties[17][18]) and the melodrama genre (2007's father-centered My Son[19][20]), Jang wrote the witty script for Ra Hee-chan's Going by the Book, about a mock bank robbery drill that turns embarrassingly real.[1][21] He also injected an enhanced comic effect into the screenplay of Public Enemy Returns, the third installment in Kang Woo-suk's series on tough detective Kang Cheol-jung (played by Sol Kyung-gu).[22]

His feel-good political satire Good Morning President was the opening film of the 2009 Busan International Film Festival.[23][24][25][26] At the MBC Drama Awards that year, Jang won a Special Award for his 2008 radio show segment Radio Book Club on MBC Standard FM.

His next films, 2010 ensemble comedy The Quiz Show Scandal[27][28] and 2011 melodrama Romantic Heaven,[29][30][31] though well-reviewed, were less successful at the box office.

Besides being the CEO of Film It Suda,[32] he is also co-founder of the film production company KnJ Entertainment Inc. alongside friend Kang Woo-suk.

Jang was a judge on the first and second seasons of Korea's Got Talent.[33] He wrote and directed the first three seasons of sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live Korea and anchored SNL Korea's version of Weekend Update.[34][35][36][37] Jang says he believes satirical comedies can change society for the better.[38][39]

Personal life[edit]

Jang was back from his military enlistment in Winter 1993.[40]

In May 2007, he married then-grad student Cha Young-eun. They have two sons, Jang Cha-in and Jang Cha-yoon.[41]


Short film[edit]

Year Title Credited as Ref.
English Korean Director Writer Producer
2000 A Terrible Day 극단적 하루 No Yes Yes
2002 Without My Father 아버지 몰래 No No Yes
2004 Has the Shower Ended? 소나기는 그쳤나요? No No Yes Short film from 1.3.6[42]
2005 Someone Grateful 고마운 사람 No No Yes Short film from If You Were Me 2
(다섯 개의 시선)[43][44]
2008 U-Turn 유턴 No Yes Yes Short film for SsangYong Actyon (OCN)[45]


Year Film Credited as Ref.
English Title Original Title Director Writer Producer
1995 A Hot Roof 개같은 날의 오후 No Yes No Cameo
1996 Do You Believe in Jazz 너희가 재즈를 믿느냐 No Yes No
1997 Trio 삼인조 No Yes No
1998 The Happenings 기막힌 사내들 Yes Yes No
1999 The Spy 간첩 리철진 Yes Yes No
2000 Ditto 동감 No Yes No
2001 Guns & Talks 킬러들의 수다 Yes Yes No Cameo
2002 No Comment 묻지마 패밀리 No Yes Yes
2003 A Man Who Went to Mars 화성으로 간 사나이 No Yes No
2004 Someone Special 아는 여자 Yes Yes Yes Cameo
2005 Murder, Take One 박수칠 때 떠나라 Yes Yes No
Welcome to Dongmakgol 웰컴 투 동막골 No Yes Yes
2006 Righteous Ties 거룩한 계보 Yes Yes No Cameo
2007 My Son 아들 Yes Yes No
Going by the Book 바르게 살자 No Yes Yes
2008 Public Enemy Returns 강철중: 공공의 적 1-1 No Yes No
2009 Good Morning, President 굿모닝 프레지던트 Yes Yes No
2010 The Quiz Show Scandal 퀴즈 왕 Yes Yes No actor
The Recipe 된장 No Yes Yes
2011 Romantic Heaven 로맨틱 헤븐 Yes Yes No
2014 Man on High Heels 하이힐 Yes Yes No
We Are Brothers 우리는 형제입니다 Yes Yes No


Year Title Credited as Ref.
English Title Original Title
1994 Hollywood Message 헐리웃통신 Writer, editor Portion of variety show Good Friends
(좋은 친구들, SBS)
1998 Soonpoong Clinic 순풍산부인과 Actor Sitcom (SBS)
2003 Nursery Story 한뼘드라마 Actor One-episode drama (MBC)
2011–2012 Korea's Got Talent 코리아 갓 탤런트 Judge Reality talent show (season 1-2, tvN)
Saturday Night Live Korea SNL코리아 Director, writer, actor Sketch comedy show (season 1-3, tvN)
2015–present Crime Scene 크라임씬 Cast member Crime investigation show
(season 2-3, jTBC)
2022–2023 Black: I Saw the Devil 블랙: 악마를 보았다 Cast member Crime Thriller Crime Documentary; Channel A (Season 1–2)[46][47]


Year Film Credited as Restage Ref.
English Title Original Title Director Playwright
1995 Heotang 허탕 Yes Yes 1999, 2012
1995 Clumsy People 서툰 사람들 Yes Yes 2004, 2007, 2008,
2009, 2010, 2012
1997 Taxi Driver 택시드리벌 Yes Yes 2000, 2004, 2015
1999 Magic Time 매직타임 Yes Yes 2007
2000 Leave When They're Applauding 박수칠 때 떠나라 Yes Yes Adapted into 2005 film
Murder, Take One
2002 Welcome to Dongmakgol 웰컴 투 동막골 Yes Yes Adapted into 2005 film
Welcome to Dongmakgol
2004 Return to Hamlet 리턴 투 햄릿 Yes Yes 2011, 2012
2005 Death of a Salesman 세일즈맨의 죽음 Yes No 2012
2011 Romeo Landing on Earth 로미오 지구 착륙기 Yes Yes
2013 December: Unfinished Song 디셈버: 끝나지 않은 노래 Yes Yes
2016 Flower of Secret 꽃의 비밀 Yes Yes 2019
2016 Ice 얼음 Yes Yes 2021


Awards and nominations of Jang Jin
Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2000 36th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Screenplay The Spy Won
2004 5th Busan Film Critics Awards Best Screenplay Someone Special Won
2005 26th Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Film Welcome to Dongmakgol Nominated
Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Film Won
Best Screenplay Jang Jin,
Park Kwang-hyun,
Kim Joong
4th Korean Film Awards Best Film Welcome to Dongmakgol Won [49]
Best Screenplay Jang Jin,
Park Kwang-hyun,
Kim Jong
2006 43rd Grand Bell Awards Best Film Welcome to Dongmakgol Nominated
Best Screenplay Jang Jin,
Park Kwang-hyun,
Kim Joong
Best Planning Film It Suda Nominated
2006 3rd Max Movie Awards Best Film Welcome to Dongmakgol Won
2009 2009 MBC Drama Awards Special Award for Radio Show Segment Standard FM Radio Book Club Won
2009 5th Korea Green Foundation's People Who Brightened Our World Person of the Year Jang Jin Won
2012 30th Fajr International Film Festival International Cinema Competition (Eastern Vista, Asian Cinema) Crystal Simorgh for Best Screenplay Romantic Heaven Won [50][51]
2016 8th Festival International Du Film Policier Du Beaune Grand Prix Man on High Heels Won



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  2. ^ "Jang Jin". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "K-FILM REVIEWS: 박수칠 때 떠나라 (Murder, Take One)". Twitch Film. 2 January 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-07-20. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  4. ^ Lee, Claire (1 July 2012). "Jang Jin shares his 'not so funny' earlier years". The Korea Herald.
  5. ^ Cho, Chung-un (17 December 2007). "Jang Jin's robbery-romance farce takes the Daehangno stage". The Korea Herald via Hancinema.
  6. ^ "This Week's Cultural News VCR 1". Arirang News via Hancinema. 24 February 2012.
  7. ^ "This Week's Cultural News VCR 1". Arirang News. 24 February 2012. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  8. ^ Kim, Kyu Hyun. "No Comment". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  9. ^ Soh, Joon (24 June 2004). "A Woman I Know - Shows Even Oddballs Fall in Love". The Korea Times via Hancinema.
  10. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (24 June 2004). "Someone Special defies conventions". The Korea Herald via Hancinema.
  11. ^ Min, Dong-yong (4 August 2005). "Who Killed Her? Investigation Broadcast Live for 48 Hours". The Dong-a Ilbo.
  12. ^ a b Kim, Tae-jong (7 August 2005). "Playwright Takes On Big Screen". The Korea Times via Hancinema.
  13. ^ "Jang Jin Announces New Film '거룩한 계보' (Noble Lineage)". Twitch Film. 10 August 2005. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013.
  14. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (11 August 2005). "The Big Scene showcases a clever detective thriller". The Korea Herald via Hancinema.
  15. ^ Bae Keun-min, Kim Tae-jong (27 December 2005). "Plays, Films Feel Synergy Effect". The Korea Times via Hancinema.
  16. ^ Bae, Keun-min (29 August 2005). "Director Jang Returns to Theatrical Play". The Korea Times via Hancinema.
  17. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (16 October 2006). "Jang Jin breathes life into gangster film". The Korea Herald via Hancinema.
  18. ^ Park, Soo-mee (14 February 2007). "Humor and logic play push and pelt". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  19. ^ Yi, Chang-ho (11 April 2007). "JANG Jin explores Father and Son relations". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  20. ^ Kim, Tae-jong (24 April 2007). "Movies Reflect on Contemporary Fathers". The Korea Times.
  21. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (27 September 2007). "Going by the Book relies on Jang's comedy". The Korea Herald via Hancinema.
  22. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (3 June 2008). "New Public Enemy upgrades humor". The Korea Herald via Hancinema.
  23. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (22 September 2009). "Actor Jang Dong-kun Returns as President". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015.
  24. ^ Park, Sun-young (25 September 2009). "Korean stars take turns playing president". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  25. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (8 October 2009). "Jang says not calling for a fight with President". 10Asia.
  26. ^ Lee, Ji-hye (9 November 2009). "Director Jang Jin's Movie Picks". 10Asia.
  27. ^ Elley, Derek (2 November 2010). "The Quiz Show Scandal". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  28. ^ Edwards, Russell (11 November 2010). "The Quiz Show Scandal". Variety.
  29. ^ Kim, No-ah (24 March 2011). "This Week's Cultural News". Arirang News. Archived from the original on 13 June 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  30. ^ "Director Jang Jin, "Kim Soo-ro was different than usual"". Hancinema. 15 March 2011.
  31. ^ Lee, Ga-on (30 March 2011). "Film director Jang Jin's Song Picks". 10Asia.
  32. ^ "Film director Jang Jin to found theatrical company next year". KBS Global via Hancinema. 27 December 2006.
  33. ^ Chung, Ah-young (21 August 2011). "Dancer Joo wins Korea's Got Talent". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 10 August 2013.
  34. ^ Oh, Mi-jung (25 November 2011). "Jang Jin Takes Matters Into His Own Hands for SNLK". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013.
  35. ^ Choi, Eun-hwa (23 November 2011). "Jang Jin to Debut as Newscaster in Comedy Show". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013.
  36. ^ Lee, In-kyung (26 December 2011). "SNLK's Jang Jin Gains Popularity with his Political Satire". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013.
  37. ^ Jeon, Su-mi (27 May 2012). "Jang Jin Compares Diablo 3 to Chanel Handbags on SNLK". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013.
  38. ^ Noh, Hyun-gi (27 November 2011). "'Live from Seoul, It's Saturday Night!'". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  39. ^ Sung, So-young (27 January 2012). "Sketch comedies are back, with more bite". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 27 January 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  40. ^ "신하균 "장진과 박찬욱, 내가 사랑하는 두 남자"" [Shin Ha-kyun "Jang Jin and Park Chan-wook, the two men I love"]. 한국일보 (in Korean). 2017-07-01. Retrieved 2023-02-11.
  41. ^ "Director Jang Jin's wife, "I fell in love with her at first sight"". Hancinema. 2 January 2012.
  42. ^ Soh, Joon (25 August 2004). "Short Films About Environment to Be Made". The Korea Times via Hancinema.
  43. ^ "Human Rights Commission to Produce Second Omnibus Film". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 August 2004. Archived from the original on 5 March 2015.
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  45. ^ "So Ji-sub, Lee Yeon-hee act as lovers in short film". Hancinema. 27 March 2008.
  46. ^ Jeong Hye-Yeon (February 4, 2022). "블랙: 악마를 보았다' 권일용X장진X최귀화, 범죄자 심리 추리" ['Black: I Saw the Devil' Kwon Il-yong X Jang Jin X Choi Gwi-hwa, Criminal Psychological Reasoning] (in Korean). Herald POP. Retrieved February 4, 2022 – via Naver.
  47. ^ Park, Soo-in (March 2, 2023). "'블랙' 시즌2로 컴백, 장진→김지훈·오대환·최영준 출연" [Comeback with ‘Black’ season 2, Jang Jin → Kim Ji-hoon, Oh Dae-hwan, Choi Young-jun appeared] (in Korean). Newsen. Retrieved March 3, 2023 – via Naver.
  48. ^ Kang, Jin-ah (October 20, 2022). "장진 감독 코미디 연극 '서툰 사람들', 10년 만에 귀환" [Director Jang Jin's comedy play 'Clumsy People' returns after 10 years] (in Korean). Newsis. Retrieved October 20, 2022 – via Naver.
  49. ^ "Welcome To Dongmakgol wins best picture award". KBS Global. 5 December 2005. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  50. ^ "The Winners of International Cinema Competition of 30th FIFF Announced". Fajr International Film Festival. 6 February 2012. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  51. ^ "Drama on racism in France crowned best film at Iranian festival". Tehran Times. 7 February 2012. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014.

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