Jeon Hae-rim (전해림) born 28 June 1978, better known by her stage name Ha Ji-won (Hangul: 하지원) is a South Korean actress. She is best known amongst international viewers for the historical dramas Hwang Jini (2006) and Empress Ki (2013), as well as the romantic comedy series Secret Garden (2010).
Ha Ji-won has starred in several films and television series, and is one of South Korea’s most sought after and critically acclaimed actresses, known for her versatility in pulling off roles in various genres such as action (including martial arts), comedy, drama, and sports.
Jeon Hae-rim was scouted by an agency when she was a senior high school student. The actress stated, “Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of becoming an actress. When I was a senior in high school, an agency contacted me after seeing my picture at a photography studio.” She later graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Film and Television (BFTV) in Dankook University. In 2012, the actress revealed that she had failed over 100 auditions before her debut, “I passed my college entrance and written exams and was accepted to the department of theater and film. Before my debut, I auditioned for 100 or so projects but didn’t get the roles.”
Jeon candidly revealed that she adopted “Ha Ji-won” as her stage name as a favor for her previous manager as it was the name of his first love. “When I was about to debut, the first love of my manager’s name was Ha Ji-won. I think he wanted to at least use the name of his love that was not fulfilled. The first time I heard the name Ha Ji-won, I thought it was pretty and also bold.”
In 2015, Ha was cast by Ha Jung-woo to play his character’s wife in his self-directed movie, Chronicle of a Blood Merchant, a film adaption of the bestselling 1995 Chinese novel of the same title written by Yu Hua. Following that, Ha, alongside actor Lee Jin-wook starred in the Korean remake of the 2011 hit Taiwanese drama In Time with You titled The Time We Were Not in Love. She reportedly earned a salary of 50 million won or approximately US$43,000 per episode of the drama, making her one of the highest paid actresses in South Korean television. However, in contrast to her previous dramas, The Time We Were Not in Love received low ratings. Nonetheless, Ha said she was satisfied with the drama and enjoyed the filming process as she considered her character Oh Ha-na the closest to her real life personality.
In the same year, Ha signed with Invincible Plan to manage her Chinese ventures. Ha has completed filming her upcoming Korea-China co-production film, Risking Life For Love, costarring Taiwanese actor Bolin Chen and fellow Korean actor Chun Jung-myung. The film is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2016. In 2016, Ha is cast for Manhunt, a Hollywood production by famed director John Woo about a small district office prosecutor who has been framed for a crime he didn’t commit and then sets out to prove his innocence. She will be starring alongside Asia’s superstars Louis Koo, Leon Lai, Daniel Wu and Li Bingbing.