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Bae Doo-na (whose name means "beautiful star") was born on October 11, 1979. In 1998 she was walking along the streets of Apkujong, Seoul when a recruiter approached her about a job in modeling. She soon branched out from modeling into TV dramas (her debut was the KBS drama School), and in 1999 she had her first film appearance as the psychic girl/ghost in The Ring Virus, Korea's remake of the Japanese film Ring.
In 2000 Bae continued to act in TV dramas and also expanded her presence on the screen, starring in the critically-acclaimed Barking Dogs Never Bite and later in Plum Blossom, a well-received film about adolescence and sex. At the time she concurrently studied in Hanyang University's department of Film and Drama.
Bae's 2001 film Take Care of My Cat was highly acclaimed by critics and screened in many festivals including Rotterdam and Berlin. She also starred in Park Chan-wook's grim followup to JSA, the acclaimed Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Her next features were more light in tone: Saving My Hubby, about a mother who straps her baby onto her back and goes out to rescue her husband from a band of gangsters, subway action film Tube, and Spring Bears Love, a melodrama by debut director Yong Yi. She also appeared in multiple TV dramas. To date, however, Bae has yet to star in a solid box office hit.
Bae's next film will be a Japanese film by Nobuhiro Yamashita titled Linda Linda Linda, in which she plays a Korean exchange student who joins an all-girl rock band. She is also rumored to have a part in Bong Joon-ho's creature movie The Host.