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Spazz Saturday #13 | Comeback battle continues for Hyun Bin, Jo In Sung, Kang Dong Won.

As Jo In Sung, Kang Dong Won, and Hyun Bin have all just returned from their mandatory military service, the clamor and excitement for their much-awaited comeback continues. Movie, drama, and commercial film stints are in the works for the three male stars, and producers are fiercely competing against each other to get one of them signed.

Rumor has it that these stars have been receiving scripts for movies or TV dramas even before they were discharged. Hyun Bin, for instance, is said to have received dozens of movie and drama offers, and that he has already signed five to six advertising deals.

“Since Hyun Bin still has very short hair, he needs some time to let it grow out,” his agency said. “He is likely to appear in a drama or film in the latter half of next year at the earliest. For now, he’ll just start off by holding an Asian fan meeting as ‘Secret Garden’ will be airing in Japan early next year.”

Kang Dong-won, who completed his military service in November, has already chosen a film to be his comeback project. He is set to work with “Nameless Gangster” director Yoon Jong-bin. The new movie, which still lacks an official title, revolves around a gang of bandits in the Chosun Dynasty and is scheduled to begin shooting early next year.

Kang’s agency said he has decided to concentrate on movies – two already confirmed, and is discussing other projects. “Given that a movie takes about a year from shooting to release, his schedule for the next two years is set.”

Jo In Sung, who was discharged May last year but has only been working on CFs since then, will finally be making a comeback to the small screen. His drama “That Winter, The Wind Blows“ will start airing in February 2013. His agency explained, “Jo In Sung initially chose the film ‘Martial Arts‘ for his come back piece but due to delays in filming, his come back was delayed as well. He hasn’t given up ‘Martial Arts’ but he is currently focusing on the drama.”

According to industry sources, the value of male celebrities after their discharge usually decrease. But in the case of these three stars, it’s either the same or even higher. The rates for their project offers are astronomical - 500 million won ($500,000) for a film, 80 million won ($80,000) per episode for a drama and a one year contract for a CF with 2 parts for 800 million won ($800,000).

A drama production source commented, “In Jo In Sung’s case, he will be receiving 100 million won ($100,000) per episode for his upcoming drama.” Another source from the CF business commented, “The compensation rate has risen to about 50 to 100 million won ($50,000 to 100,000) for the three stars.”

But it remains to be seen whether these actors, all three already in their 30s, will be as competitive as they were in their heydays.

I think their star power has waned while they were in the military. These days, Kim Soo-hyun, Song Joong-ki, Yu A-in and Park Yoo-chun are rising stars, and people regard the quality of a film or drama as more important than a star’s popularity,” a production CEO pointed out.

However, Oh Se-kang, deputy director of SBS’ drama department, said, “As TV commercials in which they appeared were aired for more than a year, even after they joined the army, viewers haven’t lost touch with them. There are not many A-list actors in their early 30s, so they’re still very valuable.

Popular culture critic Jeong Duk-hyun said, “Returning from military service can give actors a good chance to change their personas and take on different roles.”

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