Rain vows to keep acting despite weak debut

BEIJING Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:31am IST

South Korean pop star Rain smiles during an appearance in Bangkok on May 26, 2007. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

South Korean pop star Rain smiles during an appearance in Bangkok on May 26, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif

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BEIJING (Reuters) - South Korean pop sensation Rain has vowed to keep acting and trying to break into the U.S. market despite his debut Hollywood movie, "Speed Racer," crashing at the box office.

Rain is one of Asia's top-selling musicians and a fan favorite in TV dramas but he has struggled for U.S. fame despite being named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in 2006 and in People magazine's beautiful people list last year.

This summer, Rain, 26, tested the U.S. waters again with a role in the big-budget $150 million Warner Bros. movie "Speed Racer," but the film failed to ignite audiences with its American debut weekend only pulling in about $18 million.

But Rain said this would not put him off. He has already filmed his next movie, "Ninja Assassins," again by the Wachowski brothers, best known for "The Matrix" trilogy.

"Regardless of its ratings, Speed Racer was my first movie and I think it is meaningful that I get to meet the Wachowski brothers who I really admire," Rain told Reuters in an interview at the Beijing Olympics where he was a guest of Games sponsor Samsung.

"Right now I'm only focused on Ninja Assassin which is very important for me and is coming out early next year. I have plans to star in other movies but there is nothing confirmed yet."

Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, has starred in TV dramas and movies in South Korea and played to sold-out concerts across Asia, where his boy-next-door image has won him legions of fans across language barriers.

But a series of concerts planned for the United States fizzled out last year because of promotional problems.

Rain, who sings largely in Korean and is working on another album for Asian fans, acknowledged he had yet to gain wide recognition in the United States or Europe, but said he was working on it.

"If I do a lot more activities and I do my best I believe a lot more people will recognize me," said the singer, dressed in tight jeans and white-and-silver pointed shoes.

"I can introduce more Western people to my movies and my songs and this type of interview as well will help me cement my name on the global stage," said Rain as he headed out to greet hundreds of screaming fans.

(Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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