Lee Sun-kyun (Korean이선균; born March 2, 1975)[3] is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his roles in the films, Helpless (2012), romantic comedy All About My Wife (2012), and crime/black comedy A Hard Day (2014). He is also known for his role in the Bong Joon-ho's Academy Award-winning black comedy film Parasite for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award along with his castmates. He has received several other awards including nomination for an International Emmy Award.

Lee Sun-kyun
Lee in 2018
Born (1975-03-02) March 2, 1975 (age 48)
EducationKorea National University of Arts - BFA in Acting[2]
Years active2001–present
AgentHodu&U Entertainment [ko]
(m. 2009)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Seon-gyun
McCune–ReischauerI Sŏnkyun

After beginning his career in musical theatre, for many years Lee was relegated to minor and supporting roles onscreen, only getting to play lead characters in one-act dramas on KBS Drama City and MBC Best Theater. In one such Best Theater project, he worked with TV director Lee Yoon-jung on Taereung National Village (2005), which led to him being cast in her later series Coffee Prince in 2007. Coffee Prince, along with medical drama White Tower brought Lee mainstream popularity, which he followed with Pasta (2010), Golden Time (2012) and My Mister (2018).

Meanwhile, on the big screen, he received a Best Actor award from the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival for his role in Paju (2009), followed by critical acclaim for mystery thriller Helpless (2012), romantic comedy All About My Wife (2012), and crime/black comedy A Hard Day (2014). Lee also continues to collaborate with auteur Hong Sang-soo, and his arthouse films with Hong include Night and Day (2008), Oki's Movie (2010), and Nobody's Daughter Haewon (2013). In 2019, he starred in Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning black comedy film Parasite.

Career edit

Lee Sun-kyun entered the Korea National University of Arts in 1994, and graduated in the first ever class of its School of Drama. In 2001, he made his acting debut as Brad Majors in the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show.[4]

2007–2012: Acting beginnings edit

Playing small supporting roles for many years, Lee eventually achieved his breakthrough in 2007 with the critically lauded medical drama White Tower and the highly popular romantic series Coffee Prince.[5] Besides Coffee Prince, he has worked with director Lee Yoon-jung two other times—in the sports-themed Taereung National Village in 2005, and in the slice-of-life drama Triple in 2009.[6]

Lee was appointed as ambassador for the Health Insurance Review Agency in 2007, and won an award from the Korea Advertisers Association in 2008.

Despite his burgeoning fame, Lee then turned to low-budget arthouse films to polish his acting caliber. Night and Day, Lost in the Mountains, Oki's Movie, Nobody's Daughter Haewon and Our Sunhi were all directed by Hong Sang-soo, an auteur renowned for his realistic portrayal of ordinary lives.[4] Lee also headlined Paju,[7] for which he won the Best Actor award at the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival held in Spain. Film distributor Myung Film quoted the judging committee as handing Lee high points for portraying the anguish his character felt for loving his wife's younger sister.[8]

With Pasta, in which he played a brilliant-but-abrasive chef, Lee successfully shook off his "gentle" TV drama image,[9] and the series' popularity made him a bankable romantic leading man.[10][11][12] Petty Romance reunited him with his My Sweet Seoul co-star Choi Kang-hee,[13][14][15] and one-upmanship action comedy Officer of the Year (also known as Arrest King) soon followed.[16][17]

Lee showed his support for the revival of Drama Special (formerly Drama City) by starring in Our Slightly Risque Relationship (his acting was later recognized at the KBS Drama Awards). He has continually defended the importance of the short drama format as a training ground for young talent, acknowledging its contribution to his own career.[18]

2012–2017: Rising success edit

In 2012, he starred in two consecutive well-reviewed big-screen hits—mystery thriller Helpless[19] and romantic comedy All About My Wife.[20][21] Reuniting with Pasta director Kwon Seok-jang, Lee played a trauma doctor in Golden Time.[22] His third collaboration with Kwon was Miss Korea, a drama set amidst the IMF crisis in the 1990s.[23][24]

Lee returned to the theater opposite wife Jeon Hye-jin in Mike Bartlett's stage play Love, Love, Love in 2013.[25] The following year, he headlined the film A Hard Day, which screened at the Directors' Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and became a critically acclaimed sleeper hit at the box office.[26][27][28] In 2015, Lee starred in the courtroom drama film The Advocate: A Missing Body.[29][30]

2018–present: Return to television and resurgence edit

In 2018, Lee starred in the critically acclaimed television series My Mister.[31][32] The same year he starred in the action thriller film Take Point.[33]

In 2019, Lee starred in the legal television series Prosecutor Civil War.[34] More recently, he had a starring role in the critically acclaimed film Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho, which became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d'Or, as well as the first to be nominated for and win the Academy Award for Best Picture. His role was Park Dong-ik (Nathan; 박동익; Bak Dongik), the Park family father.

In 2021, Lee played a brain scientist trying to solve the mysterious death of his family by hacking into the brains of the deceased. Dr. Brain is the first Korean-language show produced for Apple TV+. As the drama series debut of renowned filmmaker Kim Jee-woon, the sci-fi thriller is based on the Korean webtoon of the same name.[35] For his performance he was nominated for a Best Actor award for the 50th International Emmy Awards.[3] The same year, Lee appeared in the political drama film Kingmaker as political strategist.[36] He received a nomination for Best Actor for his role in the film at the 58th Baeksang Arts Awards; however, the award went to his costar Sol Kyung-gu.[37]

In 2023, Lee starred alongside Lee Ha-nee (Honey Lee) in Lee Won-suk's comedy Killing Romance. While the film received a tepid reaction upon release, it has since become a cult favorite in Korea, and made its North American debut at the 22nd New York Asian Film Festival on July 14, 2023.[38][39]

Personal life edit

Marriage edit

Lee married his girlfriend of seven years, actress Jeon Hye-jin on May 23, 2009.[40][41][42] Their agency announced that their first son was born on November 25, 2009.[43] The couple's second son was born on August 9, 2011.[44]

Controversy edit

In October 2023, it was revealed that Lee was booked for internal investigation over suspected drug use.[45] As a result, he voluntarily dropped out of No Way Out, an upcoming thriller drama serial which just started its production days before the revelation of his alleged drug use.[46][47] On October 24, he was charged on suspicion of using marijuana and psychoactive drugs, according to Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency, and was summoned for questioning on the 28th.[48][49] Lee was also given a travel ban to prevent him from leaving the country during the course of investigations.[50] Initial test results of Lee's hair samples revealed that Lee tested negative for drugs, and further investigations are expected as of November 2023.[51]

Filmography edit

Stage credit edit

Theater edit

Theater play performances
Year Title Role Theater Date Ref.
English Korean
2005 Indangsu Love Song 인당수 사랑가 Valentine's Theatre 3 April 22 to September 11
2013 Love, Love, Love 러브 러브 러브 Kenneth Myeongdong Arts Theatre March 27 to April 21 [52]

Musical edit

Musical performances
Year Title Role Theater Date Ref.
English Korean
2001 The Rocky Horror Show 록키 호러 쇼 Brad Majors the Polymedia Theater in Dongsung-dong July 17 to August 26 [53][54]
2003 Grease 그리스 Danny Zuko Dongsung Art Centre Dongsung Hall August to November 16 [55][56]

Discography edit

Title Year Album
"Ocean Voyage (Choi Han-sung version)" 2007 Coffee Prince OST
"My Sweet City" 2008 My Sweet Seoul OST
"Romantic Christmas"
(with Eugene)
Romantic Island Christmas Story single
(with Yoon Sang )
Song Book: Play With Him album
(with Choi Kang-hee)
2010 Petty Romance OST
"Gift For You"
(with Choi Kang-hee, Song Ji-hyo and Kim Byung-man)
2011 Non-album single

Awards and nominations edit

Name of the award ceremony, year presented, category, nominee of the award, and the result of the nomination
Award ceremony Year Category Nominee / Work Result Ref.
APAN Star Awards 2018 Grand Prize (Daesang) My Mister Nominated [57]
Baeksang Arts Awards 2007 Best New Actor – Television White Tower Nominated
2015 Best Actor – Film A Hard Day Won [58]
2019 Best Actor – Television My Mister Nominated [59]
2022 Best Actor – Film Kingmaker Nominated [60]
Blue Dragon Film Awards 2014 Best Leading Actor A Hard Day Nominated
Buil Film Awards 2014 Best Actor Nominated
CETV Awards 2010 Top 10 Asian Stars Pasta Won
Chunsa Film Art Awards 2015 Best Actor A Hard Day Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards 2020 Best Acting Ensemble Parasite Nominated [61]
Herald DongA TV Lifestyle Awards 2012 Best Dressed Lee Sun-kyun Won [62]
International Emmy Awards 2022 Best Performance by an Actor Dr. Brain Nominated [63]
KBS Drama Awards 2004 Best Actor in a One-Act/Drama Special Dr. Love Nominated
2010 Our Slightly Risque Relationship Won [64]
Korea Advertisers Association 2008 Good Model Award Lee Sun-kyun Won
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival 2010 Best Actor Paju Won
MBC Drama Awards 2007 Golden Acting Award, Actor in a Miniseries White Tower Won [65]
Excellence Award, Actor Coffee Prince Nominated
2010 Top Excellence Award, Actor Pasta Nominated
Best Couple Award Lee Sun-kyun with Gong Hyo-jin
Won [66]
2012 Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Golden Time Nominated
2014 Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries Miss Korea Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards 2020 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Parasite Won [67]
The Seoul Awards 2018 Best Actor (TV) My Mister Nominated [68]

State honors edit

Name of country, year given, and name of honor
Country Or Organization Year Honor Or Award Ref.
South Korea[note 1] 2018 Prime Minister's Commendation [72]

Listicles edit

Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Rank Ref.
The Screen 2019 2009–2019 Top Box Office Powerhouse Actors in Korean Movies 32nd [73]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Honors are given at the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards, arranged by the Korea Creative Content Agency and hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.[69][70] They are awarded to those who have contributed to the arts and South Korea's pop culture.[71]

References edit

  1. ^ "이선균". Cinefox (씨네폭스) (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-11-01.
  2. ^ "Outstanding Alumni". Korea National University of Arts. Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  3. ^ a b "이선균" [Lee Sun-kyun]. Daum 100 (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  4. ^ a b "LEE Sun-kyun". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  5. ^ "Political drama isn't TV". Korea JoongAng Daily. 17 February 2007.
  6. ^ Oh, Jean (10 June 2009). "MBC's new series a Triple threat". The Korea Herald.
  7. ^ "Lee Seon-kyun Comments on His Role in Paju". KBS Global. 27 October 2009. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  8. ^ Hong, Lucia (30 March 2010). "Lee Sun-kyun wins best male actor at Las Palmas film fest". 10Asia.
  9. ^ Choi, Ji-eun (29 December 2009). "Lee Sun-kyun says not pressured by new image in Pasta". 10Asia.
  10. ^ Beck, Una (7 April 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 1". 10Asia.
  11. ^ Beck, Una (7 April 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 2". 10Asia.
  12. ^ Beck, Una (7 April 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 3". 10Asia.
  13. ^ Beck, Una (14 October 2010). "PIFF Interview - Actor Lee Sun-kyun". 10Asia.
  14. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (9 December 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 1". 10Asia.
  15. ^ Wee, Geun-woo (9 December 2010). "Interview: Actor Lee Sun-kyun - Part 2". 10Asia.
  16. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (28 April 2011). "Arrest gives '90s comedy zesty spin". The Korea Times.
  17. ^ Park Joong Hoon: "Playing Detective Is Both Easy and Difficult" Archived 2014-04-13 at the Wayback Machine. KBS Global. 8 April 2011.
  18. ^ Chae, Ki-won (1 June 2010). "Lee Sun-gyun says single-episode dramas "got me where I am"". 10Asia.
  19. ^ Oh, Mi-jung (13 March 2012). "Lee Sun Gyun Didn't Really Want to be in Helpless at First". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013.
  20. ^ Suk, Monica (15 March 2012). "Lee Sun-kyun, Lim Soo-jung film to be released May 17". 10Asia.
  21. ^ "'Helpless': director's oversight drags film down". The Korea Times. 8 March 2012.
  22. ^ Suk, Monica (20 June 2012). "Lee Sun-kyun to play doctor in new TV series to mark Golden Time of his life". 10Asia.
  23. ^ "Lee Sun-kyun picks project". Korea JoongAng Daily. 1 November 2013.
  24. ^ "Lee Yeon-hee, Lee Sun-kyun to Pair Up for New MBC Series". 10Asia. 31 October 2013.
  25. ^ "Actress Jeon Hye-Jin and actor Lee Seon-Kyun's sparkling youth, Love, Love, Love". K-PopCulture. 24 May 2013.
  26. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (18 April 2014). "Two hot actors to star in new thriller". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  27. ^ Conran, Pierce (23 April 2014). "Director's Fortnight to Have A HARD DAY". Korean Film Biz Zone.
  28. ^ "'The irritated guy' returns to the screen". Korea JoongAng Daily. 22 October 2015.
  29. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (5 October 2015). "Hard Day star Lee shows egoist-turned hero lawyer in Advocate". The Korea Times.
  30. ^ Kim, Yeon-ji (22 October 2015). "'The irritated guy' returns to the screen". Korea JoongAng Daily.
  31. ^ "'나의 아저씨' 모든 배우의 '인생작'이 되다" ['My Mister' to be a 'life work' for all of its actors]. Naver. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  32. ^ "종영 '나의 아저씨'가 인생 드라마였던 모든 이유" [Finale, all the reasons why 'My Mister' was a life drama]. Naver. Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  33. ^ "Lee Sun-kyun is more than romantic: Heartthrob plays a North Korean doctor in new action film 'Take Point'". Korea JoongAng Daily. 31 December 2018.
  34. ^ Choi, Yoon-na (February 27, 2019). "[종합] '검사내전', JTBC 편성 예정…이선균X정려원 "논의 중"". Sports Donga (in Korean). Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  35. ^ "Apple TV+ Korea to Launch Nov 4 with Kim Jeewoon's Series DR. BRAIN". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2023-01-31.
  36. ^ Kwak Myeong-dong (November 15, 2021). ""킹조합!" 설경구X이선균 '킹메이커', 그랜드 론칭에 폭발적 반응" [“King Guild!” Seol Kyung-gu X Lee Sun-kyun's 'King Maker', explosive reaction to grand launch]. My Daily (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved November 27, 2021.
  37. ^ "59th Baeksang Awards Notice". Baeksang Awards. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  38. ^ Marsh, James (July 11, 2023). "'They saved our film': how oddball Korean movie Killing Romance, starring Lee Sun-Kyun and Lee Hanee, became one of the cult sensations of 2023". MSN. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  39. ^ "22nd New York Asian Film Festival". NYAFF. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  40. ^ 타 웨딩스토리: 이선균&전혜진 커플 (in Korean). iWedding. 23 May 2009.
  41. ^ "2009 결혼한 스타들" (in Korean). Naver. 23 May 2009.
  42. ^ Oh, Seol-hye (3 May 2012). "Lee Sun-gyun "My wife speaks honest and direct"". StarN News.
  43. ^ "이선균-전혜진, 첫 아들 얻고 싱글벙글…"이목구비 뚜렷한 미남"". 매일경제 (in Korean). 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  44. ^ "이선균, 9일 새벽 둘째 득남 "산모, 아들 모두 건강"". E Today (이투데이) (in Korean). 2011-08-09. Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  45. ^ "Parasite actor, chaebol scion under police scrutiny over suspected drug abuse in South Korea". The Straits Times. Singapore. 22 October 2023.
  46. ^ "Parasite actor Lee Sun-kyun dropped from drama No Way Out over drug probe". The Straits Times. Singapore. 24 October 2023.
  47. ^ "Actor Lee Sun-kyun drops out of 'No Way Out' amid alleged drug use". Yonhap News Agency. 23 October 2023.
  48. ^ Choi, Seo-in; Lim, Jeong-won (October 24, 2023). "Police bring charges against Lee Sun-kyun over alleged drug use". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved October 24, 2023.
  49. ^ Park, Ro-sa (October 30, 2023). "이선균 협박한 유흥업소 실장 "3억 받았지만, 나도 협박당해"". Ilgan Sports (in Korean). Retrieved October 30, 2023 – via Naver.
  50. ^ "Lee Sun-kyun, G-Dragon slapped with travel bans following drug use allegations". Korea JoongAng Daily. October 28, 2023.
  51. ^ "Actor Lee Sun-kyun makes 2nd appearance before police over suspected drug use". The Korea Times. 4 November 2023.
  52. ^ "잘했군잘했어 이선균·전혜진, 연극 '러브러브러브'". entertain.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  53. ^ "[뮤지컬]연출가 이지나 '록키 호러 쇼' 는 일탈 욕구 표출". n.news.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  54. ^ "[공연]엽기 뮤지컬 '록키 호러 쇼' 국내 초연". n.news.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  55. ^ "[문화캘린더/공연]뮤지컬 '그리스'…입소문 타고 관객 발길". n.news.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  56. ^ "탤런트 이선균, 뮤지컬 그리스 출연". n.news.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2023-02-08.
  57. ^ "이병헌·손예진·아이유 APAN스타어워즈 노미네이트". Star News (in Korean). 27 September 2018.
  58. ^ "CHOI Min-shik and REVIVRE Triumph at 51st Paeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Biz Zone. 27 May 2015.
  59. ^ Yoo, Chung-hee (April 4, 2019). "김서형·염정아·김혜자 등 '백상예술대상' TV부문 최종 후보 공개". Ten Asia (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  60. ^ Ahn Byung-gil (April 11, 2022). "58회 백상예술대상 후보 공개…영광의 주인공은?" [58th Baeksang Arts Awards nominations revealed... Who is the hero of glory?] (in Korean). Sports Kyunghyang. Retrieved April 11, 2022 – via Naver.
  61. ^ "Best Adapted Screenplay - Critics' Choice Awards: 'The Irishman' Leads With 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. 8 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  62. ^ "Herald Donga TV Lifestyle Awards presented". The Korea Herald. 6 December 2012.
  63. ^ Goldbart, Max (29 September 2022). "International Emmys: Narcos: Mexico Leads The Pack Alongside Sex Education, Lupin". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  64. ^ "Jang Hyuk scores top prize at KBS Drama Awards". 10Asia. 3 January 2011.
  65. ^ "2007 Year-end Korean drama awards round-up". Hancinema. 7 January 2008.
  66. ^ "Kim Nam-joo, Han Hyo-joo win grand prize at MBC Acting Awards". 10Asia. 3 January 2011.
  67. ^ "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - SAG Awards: 'Parasite' Wins Top Film Prize; 'Crown' and 'Mrs. Maisel' Named Best Drama, Comedy Series". The Hollywood Reporter. 19 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  68. ^ "'제2회 더 서울어워즈' 10월27일 개최, 드라마-영화 각 부문별 후보공개". iMBC (in Korean). 28 September 2018.
  69. ^ Hicap, Jonathan (October 18, 2018). "BTS, Red Velvet win at Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on October 18, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  70. ^ Yeo, Yer-im (October 25, 2018). "BTS gets award upon their return home". Yonhap News Agency. Archived from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2021 – via Korea JoongAng Daily.
  71. ^ Lee, Sang-won (October 25, 2016). "Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards announces winners". The Korea Herald. Archived from the original on September 29, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  72. ^ "대중문화예술상 은관문화훈장에 이순재·김민기·조동진". Yonhap News (in Korean). 16 October 2018.
  73. ^ "한국영화 배우 흥행 파워 TOP 배우 하정우 그러나 TOP 10위 안에 여성 배우는 실종...여성 주연 영화 부재가 원인" [Korean movie actor box office power TOP actor Ha Jung-woo but the female actor in the top 10 is missing... Due to the absence of female-starred films]. RNX (in Korean). 2020-01-02. Retrieved 2023-10-30.

External links edit