Bae Doona

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Bae Doona
Bae Doona.jpg
Born(1979-10-11) October 11, 1979 (age 35)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationHanyang University (dropped out)
Konkuk University - Film Art
OccupationActress, photographer
Years active1999–present
AgentSaetbyul-dang Entertainment
Korean name
Revised RomanizationBae Du-na
McCune–ReischauerPae Tu-na
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This is a Korean name; the family name is Bae.
Bae Doona
Bae Doona.jpg
Born(1979-10-11) October 11, 1979 (age 35)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationHanyang University (dropped out)
Konkuk University - Film Art
OccupationActress, photographer
Years active1999–present
AgentSaetbyul-dang Entertainment
Korean name
Revised RomanizationBae Du-na
McCune–ReischauerPae Tu-na

Bae Doona (Korean pronunciation: [pɛduna]; born October 11, 1979) is a South Korean actress and photographer. Bae first became known outside Korea for her roles as the protagonist's political activist girlfriend Cha Young-mi in Park Chan-wook's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), as archer Park Nam-joo in Bong Joon-ho's The Host (2006), and as an inflatable sex doll-come-to-life in Hirokazu Koreeda's Air Doll (2009).[1] She then had a starring role as the revolutionary clone Sonmi~451 in the film Cloud Atlas (2012), directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer.[2]

Early life[edit]

Bae was born in Seoul, South Korea. Growing up, Bae would follow her mother, Kim Hwa-young, a famous stage actress in Korea, around the theater and rehearsal halls, learning the lines of dialogue as she went along. This did not initially lead Bae towards acting, saying: "People might say that since my mother is a theater actor, I became an actress. But to me, those experiences probably had the opposite effect. On the contrary, because I saw many great actors working with my mother, I thought this was a job only people with extraordinary talent could do."[3]


A Hanyang University student in 1998, Bae was scouted by a model talent agency while walking in Seoul. This led to modeling clothing for COOLDOG's catalog, amongst others. In 1999 she made the switch to acting, debuting in the TV drama School. Later that year, she appeared as the ghost in The Ring Virus, a Korean remake of the Japanese horror film Ring.[4]

In 2000, director Bong Joon-ho cast her in the film Barking Dogs Never Bite for her willingness to do the part without makeup, something other South Korean actresses were unwilling to do.[5] In Kim So-young's documentary Women's History Trilogy (2000–2004), Bae stated her admiration for veteran South Korean actress Yoon Jeong-hee; Yoon returned the compliment, saying "Bae Doo-na owns her world." In this same documentary, Bae shared how her own most memorable scene was being chased by the homeless man throughout the apartment in Barking Dogs Never Bite.[6] That same year she gave a risque performance (albeit with a body double for the more intense scenes) in Plum Blossom,[7] and slowly started getting more work on television.

This was followed by two more critical successes, 2001's Take Care of My Cat, directed by Jeong Jae-eun,[8] and 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, directed by Park Chan-wook.[9][10]

2003 was less kind to Bae, as she saw both Tube and Spring Bears Love flop at the box office. After completing principal photography on Spring Bears Love, Bae decided to take time off from film, saying: "I never lived even once without having anything to do. The moment a film was presented to the press, I was almost always already shooting the next one [...] I thought by myself: now my first cycle is really over. While I rest a little, I wanted to make a fresh new start."[3]

During her hiatus from the big screen, Bae took up photography, much of which can be seen between her official blog and her published photo-essay books.[11] She also continued to work on TV, starring in Country Princess and Rosemary.[12] Bae finally stepped onto a theater stage in 2004, for a production of Sunday Seoul (not to be confused with the South Korean movie of the same title), a play co-written by Park Chan-wook.[3][13]

In 2005 Bae gave a memorable turn as an exchange student who joins a band in the Japanese film Linda Linda Linda,[7][14][15][16] then played a divorced woman in the experimental omnibus TV series Beating Heart.[17]

Bae Doona promoting The Host in 2006.

She reunited with Bong Joon-ho in 2006's The Host, which became the highest grossing film in South Korean box office history. For her role, she trained in archery for months that she was told if she really wanted, she had enough talent to make it at an amateur level.[18] She then returned to television, through the series Someday and How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor.[19]

After winning accolades for Air Doll, a 2009 film by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda about an inflatable sex doll that develops a soul and falls in love,[20][21][22][23] Bae made back-to-back TV series in 2010, playing a high school teacher in Master of Study,[24][25] and a night club singer in weekend drama Gloria.[26][27][28]

Her 2012 sports film As One was based on the true story of the world table tennis championship held in Chiba, Japan in 1991 where North Korean player Ri Bun-hui and South Korean player Hyun Jung-hwa overcame their difficulties and came together to defeat the unbeatable Chinese team. Bae and co-star Ha Ji-won were trained by Hyun herself, and Bae learned to play left-handed like Ri.[29][30][31][32][33][34] Afterwards she made a brief appearance in the science fiction film Doomsday Book.[35]

Bae made her English-language, Hollywood debut in Cloud Atlas, as Sonmi~451, a clone in dystopian Korea.[36] She also played the minor roles of Tilda Ewing, the daughter of a slave-holder and wife of an abolitionist in pre-Civil War America, and a Mexican woman who kills an assassin out to murder a journalist and a whistleblower who are trying to expose a nuclear plant safety cover-up. Co-directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, the US$100 million adaptation of David Mitchell's novel premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival to divisive reviews, though Bae's performance was unanimously praised by critics.[37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48] The Wachowskis later cast her again in a supporting role in their next science fiction film Jupiter Ascending.[49][50][51][52]

Back in Korea, Bae next starred in the 2014 film Dohee-ya (released internationally as A Girl at My Door), directed by July Jung and produced by Lee Chang-dong.[53] Playing a small-town police officer who tries to save a mysterious young girl she suspects is a victim of domestic violence, Bae said she was so fascinated by the story and emotionally challenging role that she decided to star in the movie without pay three hours after reading the script.[54][55] The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.[56]

She then began filming Sense8, an upcoming American science fiction series created by the Wachowskis (in Bae's third collaboration with them) and co-written by J. Michael Straczynski. About eight strangers from different cultures and parts of the world who share a violent psychic vision and suddenly find themselves telepathically connected, Sense8 is expected to stream on Netflix in 2015.



1999The Ring VirusPark Eun-seo
2000Barking Dogs Never BitePark Hyun-nam
Plum BlossomSeo Nam-ok
2001Take Care of My CatYoo Tae-hee
2002Sympathy for Mr. VengeanceCha Young-mi
Saving My HubbyJung Geum-soon
2003TubeSong In-kyung
Spring Bears LoveJung Hyun-chae
2005Linda Linda LindaSonJapanese film
Tea DateSun-heeAmerican short film[57]
2006The HostPark Nam-joo
2009Air DollNozomiJapanese film
2012Doomsday Bookadult Park Min-seo (cameo)segment: "Happy Birthday"
As OneRi Bun-hui
Cloud AtlasSonmi~451 /
Tilda Ewing /
Mexican woman
German film
2014A Girl at My DoorLee Young-nam
2015Jupiter Ascendinga bounty hunterAmerican film

Television series[edit]

1998Angel's KissKBS2
1999SchoolBae Doo-naKBS1
Ad MadnessPyo Roo-naKBS2
2000Love Story
"Miss Hip-hop and Mr. Rock"
Look Back in AngerLee Mi-naKBS2
Cruise Ship of LoveBae Doo-naKBS2
RNAPark Se-miKBS2
I Want To Keep Seeing YouHam Choon-bongSBS
Mothers and SistersGong Chan-miMBC
2001Open Drama Man & Woman
"You say it's love, but I think it's desire"[58]
2003Country PrincessLee Eun-heeMBC
RosemaryShin Kyung-sooKBS2
2005Beating HeartBae Doo-naMBC
2006SomedayHana YamaguchiOCN
2007How to Meet a Perfect NeighborJung Yoon-heeSBS
2010Master of StudyHan Soo-jungKBS2
GloriaNa Jin-jinMBC

Music video[edit]

YearSong titleArtist
"Party Time"Ray Jay
"단"Kim Don-kyoo
2007"Every Time I Look at You"Kang Kyun-sung
2009"Tsumetai Ame"Every Little Thing
2010"Seesaw" / "Confession"Hot Potato
"Temperature of Separation"Yoon Jong-shin feat. You Hee-yeol


1999Music CampMBCMC
Radio TenTen ClubSBSDJ


2002Robert ZuccoN/AProducer
2004Sunday SeoulActress, producer
2008The VisitN/AProducer


YearTrackFrom Album
2005リンダ リンダ ("Linda Linda")Linda Linda Linda OST
僕の右手 Boku no Migite ("My Right Hand")
終わらない歌 Owaranai Uta ("Never Ending Song")
2010글로리아 ("Gloria")Gloria OST
바보랍니다 ("I'm a Fool")
"Ready to Fly" (feat. Jung Jae-yun)


2006Doona's London PlayTaste FactoryISBN 89-958439-0-X
2007Doona's Tokyo PlayTaste FactoryISBN 89-958439-5-0
2008Doona's Seoul PlayChung-Ang BooksISBN 978-89-6188-765-6


COOLDOG, 꾸띠, i.n.v.u. [catalogs]
Lykea Cosmetics
Binggrae - HeartU, HeartU Cool, Power Cap, Chew-ets
Donga Otsuka DemiSoda
Korea Association of Information & Telecommunication
2000-2001Whisper P&G
2002KT Nespot
Tomato Savings Bank - Let's Love (Adoption PSA)
2007LG PixDix
2008Kia Sportage
Eryn Brinie
Make Up For Ever
2009Suntory I love vegi
2010Aladdin Bookstore
Jack&Jill Urban Farm campaign
Olleh Ebook
Santa Maria Novella
2015Louis Vuitton[59]

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNominated workResultRef.
1999KBS Drama AwardsBest New ActressSchool, Ad MadnessWon
200021st Blue Dragon Film AwardsBest New ActressBarking Dogs Never BiteWon[60]
3rd Director's Cut AwardsBest New ActressPlum BlossomWon
KBS Drama AwardsPopularity AwardRNAWon
200121st Korean Association of Film Critics AwardsBest ActressTake Care of My CatWon
9th Chunsa Film Art AwardsBest ActressTake Care of My CatWon[61]
2nd Women in Film Korea AwardsBest ActressTake Care of My CatWon
200238th Baeksang Arts AwardsBest ActressTake Care of My CatWon[62]
3rd Pusan Film Critics AwardsBest ActressTake Care of My CatWon[63]
23rd Blue Dragon Film AwardsBest ActressSympathy for Mr. VengeanceNominated[64]
2003MBC Drama AwardsExcellence Award, ActressCountry PrincessNominated[65]
200627th Blue Dragon Film AwardsBest Supporting ActressThe HostNominated[66][67][68]
9th Director's Cut AwardsBest Performers Award (ensemble cast)The HostWon[69][70]
2007SBS Drama AwardsExcellence Award, Actress in a MiniseriesHow to Meet a Perfect NeighborNominated
201019th Tokyo Sports Film AwardsBest ActressAir DollWon[71][72]
33rd Japan Academy PrizeBest ActressAir DollNominated[73][74][75][76]
4th Asian Film AwardsBest ActressAir DollNominated[77]
23rd Takasaki Film FestivalBest ActressAir DollWon[78][79][80]
MBC Drama AwardsExcellence Award, ActressGloriaNominated[81]
KBS Drama AwardsNetizens' Award, ActressMaster of StudyNominated[82]
Excellence Award, Actress in a MiniseriesNominated
201430th Golden Rooster and
Hundred Flowers Awards
Best Actress in a Foreign FilmA Girl at My DoorWon[83][84]
23rd Buil Film AwardsBest ActressA Girl at My DoorNominated[85]


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External links[edit]