No.456 Lee Jung-jae: The Journey from Actor to Director
All About Lee Jung-jae

No.456 Lee Jung-jae: The Journey from Actor to Director

You may have first known Lee Jung-Jae by the role of Seong Gi-hun No.456 in Squid Game. However, he's already a sensation in Korea, where he's a well-known star actor and has appeared in numerous K-dramas and K-movies.

Lee Jung-jae started his acting career in 1993 and quickly became popular because of his good looks and great acting skills. He has been working steadily for the past 30 years, and during that time, he has become one of the most respected actors in Korea.

Actor Lee Jung-Jae has now taken on a new challenge- directing. His first movie, Hunt, is already getting great reviews. In the movie "Hunt" 2022, Lee Jung-jae was the director, screenplay writer, producer, and lead actor.

Let's find out everything about Lee Jung-jae, from behind stories about how he gets every role from a director to an actor in "Hunt", his biography to young Lee Jung-Jae's handsome looks peak days.

 

Director Lee Jung-Jae:
Funny Behind Story of K-Movie 'Hunt'

What made him the lead actor, screenplay writer, producer, and even director in 'hunt'?

Hunt, which is set to be released in Korea in August 2022, is attracting attention because it is Lee Jung-jae's directorial debut. The story of Lee Jung-jae, who went from film production to directing and starring in "Hunt", is very interesting.

For your easy understanding, I've adapted the story into a more conversational style, based on Lee Jung-Jae's Korean interviews.

The story begins in 2016.

Director Han Jae-rim and actor Lee Jung-jae met in private.
FYI, Han Jae-rim is a famous Korean movie director who directed "The King", "The Face Leader" and so on.movies?  

Han Jae-rim:
Lee Brother! Do you like spy movies? 
Lee Jung-jae:
Yes, yes! All male actors like spy movies, don't we?
I love spy movies! 
Han Jae-rim:
I have a scenario 'hunt', which is a spy genre. I am developing this scenario with the writer who wrote the draft.

Lee Jung-jae:
Oh, it's a cool story! Good! Good!! 

 

1 year later from that

Lee Jung-jae:
Director Han! Is it true that the script for Hunt is up for sale? Can I buy it?

(: It looks like fun! If I only participate in the production or act in this movie. I'm sure Han will do a director and screenplay...LOL :)

Han Jae-rim:
Lee, I decided not to do it. HAHA... I don't think this scenario would be a good story for a commercial movie! So I give up this scenario 'Hunt'. Good Luck!


Lee Jung-jae:
Uh well~ I think if I develop this scenario well, it has enough potential for box office... I'll buy it and I'll fix it well!

(: I do NEVER plan on fixing it myself! I'll have to find someone who can write a good script and direct it...haha :)

 

Lee Jung-jae was looking for the right person here and there...

Lee Jung-jae:
Director Jung! Good to see you!!
I have a spy and action genre scenario, and it's really fun! Would you like to work with me on this?


Jung Ji-woo:
Me??? O.O  Uh...
This kind of blockbuster action movie is so different from the movies I've previously done... I think I'm NOT suitable as a director for this movie. Sorry~

FYI...Jung Ji-woo is famous as a director of romance drama genre films with an excellent depiction of human psychology and emotions. His representative works include "Eungyo", "Tune in for Love" and so on.

 

Again and again, Lee Jung-jae was looking for the right person who is a director and scripter of 'Hunt'...

Lee Jung-jae:
Ah... OMG... Anyone here?

Director Han, I'm having a hard time because I bought the rights to the screenplay that you recommended.
Han Jae-rim:
I see... OK,
Let's make this movie with me in it!

 

3 months after that..

Han Jae-rim:
Ah... I guess I can't. I just don't have time... I'm sorry.

(FYI... At that time, director Han Jae-rim was busy with the film "Emergency Declaration.")
Lee Jung-jae:
Ah... OMG!

Lee Jung-jae:
If no one writes an adaptation for this film script,
OK, I'll have to do it myself. I'll give it a shot.

 

Lee Jung-jae, who wrote a screenplay of Hunt for the first time in his life due to such an unavoidable circumstance, said how he felt at that time.

Lee Jung-jae:
I've never written a screenplay before. Besides, I wasn't used to using a computer.

In the beginning, I was shocked because I accidentally removed a script I had written on my computer. And I repeated this kind of mistake several times.

Lee Jung-jae:
When I'm nervous, my stomach swells and hurts. I suffered from this kind of pain when I wrote this scenario.

Lee Jung-jae:
I was curious why I was so obsessed in this particular scenario, even though Director Han and other directors said no!
So there were periods when I put the script down.

Lee Jung-jae:
But I turned on the computer again about a month later and started writing this scenario again.
Lee Jung-jae:
Repeating these processes, I started writing the script line by line, and I finished it finally after 4 years. And I corrected it little by little until the end of filming.

 

Finally 2022

After many attempts and failures, the film 'Hunt' was finally released in Korea to great acclaim in August of 2022.

Lee Jung-jae is getting more attention by participating in the direction, adaptation, lead acting, and production of 'Hunt'.

"Is it Lee Jung-jae's directorial debut? It's outstanding. " and "Actor Lee Jung-jae's 30-year career exploded with his directorial ability", Many Korean filmgoers have given positive feedback.

Artistically, 'Hunt' has been very well-received; for instance, it was one of the films chosen to be screened at Midnight Screenings at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. Not only is the film popular in Korea, but it is also doing well commercially.

 

images instagram @from_jjlee

 

The additional interesting fact that ...
'Hunt' was released in Korea at the same time as 'Emergency Declaration' by director Han Jae-rim, who first suggested Hunt's idea to Lee Jung-jae. So far, Lee Jung-jae's Hunt has had a better box office performance. 

Fans of South Korean cinema are eagerly anticipating the next trip of director Lee Jung-jae, as well as Ki-hoon 456 and actor Lee Jung-jae. What will Lee Jung-jae show us next time? We can't wait to find out!

 

Lee Jung-jae Biography

Lee Jung-jae's Profile

  • Name: Lee Jung-jae 이정재
  • Born: December 15, 1972
  • Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
  • Nationality: South Korea
  • Body: 5'11" (181cm), 154 lbs (70kg, up or down depending on the role he got)
  • Blood Type: Type B
  • Occupation: Actor, Businessman, Director, Screenwriter, Producer
  • Agent: Artist Company
    (an entertainment company founded by Lee Jung-jae and actor Jung Woo-sung, his old friend Kkanbu.)
  • Education: Theater and Film, Dongguk University(BA),
    Dongguk University Graduate School of Culture and Arts(MA)
  • Family: Father, mother, and an elder brother
  • Marital Status: Unmarried
  • Girlfriend: Im Se-ryung
    (a famous Korean entrepreneur. In 2015, a love story with Lim Se-ryung was published and became known.)
  • Social Media: Instagram @from_jjlee
    (Open on October 21, 2021.
    Lee Jung-jae initially had no interest in social media, but after 'Squid Game' became a huge success, he finally created an Instagram account at the insistence of his fans.)
  • Debut: 1993 'Dinosaur Teacher' SBS TV drama
    His good looks caught the eye of a modeling agent while he worked a part-time job in a cafe in Apgujeong-dong, Seoul and he was soon appearing in commercials. He hit it big in 1993 with an ad for chocolate, which led to roles in television dramas like "Dinosaur Teacher."
chocolate commercial of young Lee Jung-jae

    the 1993 chocolate commercial that brought Lee Jung-jae to stardom

     

     

    Top 3 Lee Young-Jae Filmography
    Good to Watch with Hunt

    1. Squid Game

    Lee Jung-jae rose to global stardom in the role of Seong Ki-hoon No. 456 in 'Squid Game' 2021.

    You may have already seen the 'Squid Game' Netflix series. If you haven't seen this K-drama yet, you should definitely watch it. Lee Young-jae's performance as gi-hun no.456 of the squid game is amazing.

    'Squid Game 2', which will be released in 2024, is also anticipated by many people.

    squid game korean original poster kdrama

     

    2. City Of The Rising Sun (Taeyangeun eobda)

     In 'Hunt' 2022, Lee Jung-jae and Jung Woo-sung starred in two lead roles.

    Actor Jung Woo-sung is Lee Jung-jae's best friend and real-world 'Kkanbu'. The two of them started the Artist Company, an entertainment company, together. They continue to run it together now.

    In 'City of the Rising Sun' 1999, Lee Jung-jae and Jung Woo-sung starred in two lead roles.

    The movie that the long friendship between Lee Jung-jae and Jung Woo-sung began 23 years ago is the film 'City of the Rising Sun'.

    The recent popularity of director Lee Jung-jae's film 'The Hunt,' which was released in 2022, has brought attention back to his 1999 film 'City of the rising sun' starring Lee Jung-jae and Jung Woo-sung in Korea.

    On many OTT services in South Korea, 'City of the Rising Sun' was at the top of the list of most popular films, and Korean movie fans are re-watching this classic film.

    City of the Rising Sun Korean movie poster Lee Jung-jae and Jung Woo-sung

    Official Movie Posters ⓒKorean Film Archive

    3. The Face Reader

    Lee Jung-jae played the role of a charismatic villain prince Suyang in the movie 'the face reader'.

    The scene of Lee Jung-jae's appearance in this movie is very famous in Korea and is often used as a meme.

     

    In this movie, Lee Jung-jae worked with Song Kang-ho, a Korean actor who was introduced last time. Find out more about the movie 'The Face Reader' in his movie introduction article.

    Conclusion

    We looked at Lee Jung-jae's new career as a director, his biography, and the most talked-about works of actor Lee Jung-jae.

    Lee Jung-jae is a well-known Korean actor who has been in the entertainment industry for almost 30 years. He has starred in many popular films and TV dramas, such as 'Squid Game', 'City of the Rising Sun', and 'The Face Reader'. Lee Jung-jae is also a renowned director, and his film 'The Hunt' was a huge success.

    Lee Jung-jae's 'Squid Game 2' is already being talked about by many people and is highly anticipated. If you're a fan of Lee Jung-jae, be sure to check out his work! We hope you enjoy Lee Jung-jae's movies and dramas!

    Thank you for reading ;) Gamsahabnida 감사합니다🙏

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    Yang Junghwa

    I love Korea, kittens, kindness, kimchi, and knowledge. I am the Earth and life wanderer who was born in Seoul, South Korea. I wanted to be the Wonder Woman, but now be a quite similar Wander Woman, anyway :) There is a birth myth about me. I was the wonder baby, surprised the whole maternity hospital by drinking up a full big bottle of milk within hours of being born. King Kool!

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