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“I grew up in a rural area,” he says, shrugging at the memory.“You get your racism there.”His first ambition was to play basketball, and he was good enough that scholarships helped him chase that dream through three colleges.“The Japanese see me as a Korean, not an American,” he says. earlier this year, when he was shooting scenes for “My Father” in Pasadena. But he would still like his family to be able to see him on screen, excitedly recounting the buzz he got when he took his mother to see “Mr. “It was nice to not have people following me all the time,” he says, but he seems pleased to recount that he was spotted by fans a few times, including two middle-aged white women during a visit to Chicago who gushed when they spotted Dr. They were members of a Korean drama club.“When I look at the last two years, things look like they were planned,” Henney says when asked if coming to Korea was part of a clever strategy to circumvent the American competition. “I definitely wouldn’t understand a Korean father-son relationship, but then luckily enough for me, my character doesn’t either,” says the cheerful Henney about his first dramatic role in the upcoming film “My Father.” He plays a Korean who was adopted into an American family, stationed as a U. soldier in South Korea and searching for his birth parents.He finds the man believed to be his father: a murderer living on death row.“Koreans feel the same emotions as everyone else but they express them differently: in the way they argue, the way they shout, the way they pout,” Henney says during an interview in a Seoul photo studio.Says the nature of Korean family relationships still eludes him. A mere two years after arriving in South Korea with a single suitcase and a one-shot contract for a TV commercial, Henney, 27, has become one of the country’s most famous TV and movie stars, a heartthrob who can’t go out for coffee in Seoul without attracting a (mostly squealing female) crowd.In the process, he has created a new acting niche in this movie-mad country: roles for a cultural hybrid with Korean roots, coming in from the West and struggling to master love and relationships.
Henry Kim in the 2005 TV romance “My Name is Kim Sam-Sun” (“My Lovely Sam-Soon” on English DVDs).
Wildly popular, the show centered on a Korean woman -- a single, slightly overweight pastry chef with a Bridget Jones knack for social missteps -- who gets swept into a love triangle. Henry was merely a supporting role, but it got Henney attention for both his appearance and the fact that he portrayed a handsome, successful Korean American in Korea as something other than a caricature.