Lee Jung-jae has been one of the crucial profitable actors in South Korea. He has appeared in comedies, novels, motion movies, crime thrillers and interval items. And avant-garde followers will lose their heads to study that he even starred in the one Asian movie Dogme 95, Interview (2000). He’s nothing if not versatile.
It’s going to come as no shock to study that Lee has received a number of nationwide awards. But it surely was the Korean sequence Squid Game, which broke data on Netflix by turning into a worldwide phenomenon, that propelled Lee to worldwide recognition. The actor received a Primetime Emmy and a Display Actors Guild Award, amongst different awards, within the US, in commemoration of his work on the satirical survival horror sequence, as world audiences woke up to his abilities.
However Lee is not only a formidable actor. He has additionally devoted himself to directing, making a really formidable debut within the type of Hunt, a kinetic spy thriller and fervour challenge, for which the movie’s star and director lately received the Honorary Award on the London 2022 East Asian Movie Pageant. . Is there nothing Lee cannot do? He is set to star in a brand new Star Wars sequence in his first US position, The Acolyte, which is ready to reach subsequent summer time.
COMPULSIVELY WATCH ‘ANDOR’
We’re speaking at present forward of Hunt’s launch, and whereas particulars on The Acolyte are sparse (“I feel they’re going to launch one thing quickly,” Lee says), we all know that the Disney+ sequence is ready in the course of the closing days of the Excessive Republic Period. and can deal with the emergence of the Darkish Aspect. It seems to be courageous.
The form of factor significantly suited Lee, whose movie Hunt has loads in widespread with the grit of the Star Wars spy thriller sequence Andor, at present in its 12-episode first season on Disney+ and having fun with lavish acclaim.
“I am nonetheless ready for all of the episodes to come back out so I can watch it,” says Lee. “So far as I do know, Andor makes use of the world of Star Wars, or the universe it’s based mostly on, very properly, however on the identical time, it takes on a really completely different style. So I’ve excessive expectations for the sequence. I feel from just a few years in the past, the Star Wars franchise has been evolving. It is morphing from family-oriented motion pictures to one thing extra genre-specific, and so I feel that is one thing that makes it much more fascinating.”
THE PRESSURE OF ‘THE ACOLYTE’
Simply as Hunt is an intimidating challenge for a primary directorial job, Lee’s first US challenge is arguably within the greatest, most formidable area you can identify: the Star Wars universe.
“I am actually trying ahead to it as a result of Star Wars motion pictures have a really important place in movie historical past,” says Lee. “The Star Wars motion pictures had been liable for improvement and development in lots of areas; principally all areas of cinema. It’s historical past . I am actually trying ahead to engaged on [ The Acolyte ] and as I’ve excessive expectations for this, I will even attempt to put together myself sufficient to be on the identical degree [dessas expectativas].”
And there is the primary trace that Lee could be feeling nervous.
“There’s stress,” he admits. “I really feel the stress as a result of he’s beloved by so many followers all over the world. And a few of these followers are very, very hardcore. So I am fearful about letting them down ultimately as a result of one thing’s lacking [da minha parte]maybe.”
As as to whether he obtained an opportunity to wield a lightsaber, he simply says, “Let’s wait and see.” He’ll admit that, like the remainder of us, he performed with one as a child.
How about driving? Now that he has Hunt underneath his belt, it seems to be like he could be an awesome match to direct an episode of The Acolyte.
“So far as I do know, it is already set. They’ve somebody,” he says. “It is all lined. I’ve no plans or need to drive any [episódio] on the time.” The director aboard The Acolyte is Russian Doll’s Leslye Headland, who will even function author and showrunner, so it is in good palms.
THE HUNT IS ON
However again to Hunt, as a result of Lee demonstrates unimaginable expertise and confidence as a director in his intricate, fast-paced spy drama, set throughout an precise period of political turmoil in Korea.
Andor, like a variety of espionage, begins off as a gradual burn – nice – however it was the deftly executed fast-paced and tense heist episode that actually obtained followers speaking. And Lee exhibits an consciousness of his viewers when he says he needed to lean into that rhythm.
“Due to my age, after all, I’ve seen my share of spy motion pictures,” says Lee. “And I used to be considering, as soon as I began engaged on this film, if I do it at this type of tempo [típico lento], would the general public like that? So I ended up choosing up the tempo; I did motion sequences and I did it actually quick.”
Hunt was a field workplace hit in South Korea when it debuted in August of this yr. Set throughout South Korea’s political turmoil within the Eighties, Lee performs an intelligence chief tasked with rooting out a mole who finds himself dealing with off towards a rival agent to foil a plot to assassinate the president.
With comparisons to Infernal Affairs, The Raid and Warmth, Hunt additionally channels the strain and power of current Korean movie hits Prepare to Busan and Parasite. However Lee says he hasn’t watched any particular motion pictures in preparation for the film. As a substitute, he was impressed by worldwide information.
FAKE NEWS AND AUTHENTICITY CONSTRUCTION
“As a result of this film is about private beliefs, I have never actually watched different motion pictures,” says Lee. “What I did was watch a variety of information from completely different nations just like the US, European nations, China and Japan. I’ve seen that just about each nation, when there’s some type of presidential election, there’s a variety of faux information that pops up out of the blue.
And due to all this faux information, it makes the common individual, most of the people, unhealthy. I imply, it makes your beliefs very unhealthy. So I made a decision, with intent, that the subject could be about beliefs.”
He continues, “My movie additionally offers with what was taking place within the Eighties in Korea, with the political and geopolitical scenario between North Korea and South Korea.
It is a distinctive scenario for each Koreas and I needed to ensure that individuals outdoors of Korea would be capable of perceive the scenario accurately. I additionally needed to have the ability to convey what I needed to convey about this example accurately. So I referenced a variety of information articles and precise incidents that occurred as an alternative of watching different motion pictures.”
It was ensuring outsiders understood the intricacies of what he was making an attempt to convey that, says Lee, was probably the most difficult side of your entire manufacturing.
“Total, the principle factor we targeted on was how can we make this simpler to digest?” he says.
A GENTLE PROJECT?
One factor viewers could not simply digest is the prevalence of torture sequences that boost the movie. They’re very highly effective, they usually go a great distance towards displaying Lee’s perspective on beliefs, however they don’t seem to be straightforward to look at. Identical to most of the sequences in Squid Game will not be what you’d name gentle visualization.
On that notice, the second season of Squid Game is at present in manufacturing, so I ask for an replace as creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk has stated in interviews that Lee’s character Seong Gi-hun – higher often called participant 456 – is a person. decided to take revenge within the subsequent chapter.
“I needed to study what the character is considering and what the character goes to do by studying the script and making my very own choices,” says Lee. “However sadly, the director is leaking data to reporters, so I am taking bits and items of knowledge from the articles. I realized that my character turns into darker, and he’ll get revenge. And I obtained that by way of articles.”
After the gory scenes in Squid Game and the violence of Hunt, it is pure to surprise if Lee want to deal with one thing just a little softer, assuming the challenge is not The Acolyte, after all. He cites a sequence he did referred to as Chief of Workers, which he labored on two tasks on earlier than taking up Squid Game as a “softer” job.
“It is just like the Korean model of Home of Playing cards,” he says.
Softer? Severely? On condition that he would not cite the present we have all been trying ahead to, perhaps we’re a very darkish and soiled new Star Wars challenge in The Acolyte, so…
Hunt is in theaters and out there on Altitude.Movie from November 4, 2022 within the UK and hits screens within the US on December 2, 2022.