The American Soldiers Who Defected to North Korea and Became Movie Stars

Happy Family. Kim Il-sung and his wife Kim Jong-suk with son Kim Jong-Il, 1960s. Found in the collection of the Monument in Pyongyang. Artist unknown. Photo by Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images

Often described as one of the most isolated countries in the world, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has been ruled by the Kim dynasty since 1948. And while most reports of defectors focus on harrowing stories of North Koreans escaping to freedom in China or South Korea, a handful of people actually traveled in the other direction, defecting to North Korea. Listen in to learn more about the strange journeys American soldiers took, away from the military and straight to the forefront of North Korea's film industry.