K-drama die-hards will recognise South Korean star Lee Joon-ki from his leading roles in period and legal shows like Iljimae and Lawless Lawyer. The award-winning actor, singer and model was the face of the South Korean “flower boy” trend of the mid-2000s, which saw celebrities revolutionizing masculine attractiveness by donning make-up and cultivating a keen eye for style. In his 2005 movie “The King and the Clown” got popular because of the pretty boy who looked prettier than a girl.
Lee joon Ki is the only actor in South Korea who boasts the title “King of Sageuk”, which means the “king of historical dramas”. His role as a Joseon dynasty court jester in The King and the Clown was his claim to fame in 2005, and over the course of his 15-year career he has been cast in starring roles in countless historical dramas such as Iljimae, Gunman in Joseon, Arang and the Magistrate and The Scholar Who Walks the Night. The 38-year-old actor isn’t only known for his action-packed roles, he is also known for his lovely vocals. He has been releasing songs and performing for fans worldwide since 2006. He held his first concert tour in 2018 for his eighth mini-album Delight
The Busan-born actor, is someone who shines in any project he does. In the drama “Flower of Evil”, he played the character of Baek Hee-Sung, who had to hide his real identity in order to get away from his burdensome past and live a comfortable happy life with the love of his detective wife Cha Ji Won, played by Moon Chae Won. He plays the perfect husband and father role while trying to hide the past. In the middle of the series, their love and emotions that surface beautifully can be brought to life by Lee Joon Ki alone.
He is someone who lives and melts into his role with ease. He analyses the character and dives deep into it which brings the audience to melt, laugh and cry. I have never seen any actor that can cry fit to the character like Lee Joon Ki. His eyes and facial expressions change to fit the character.
Lee Joon Gi chose a scene from “Flower of Evil” that stood out to him. “The scene he remember the most is when Hyun Soo realizes his feelings for the first time and starts sobbing,” he said. “He and the director agonized over this scene even before they portrayed it. That part was something that had them so stumped the more they thought about it that they even talked for close to an hour during rehearsal.”
He continued, “If we failed to control the pace of the story and didn’t convince the viewers, we would’ve ruined the entire flow of emotions that we had created so far.”
Lee Joon Gi also shared his secret to acting out the crying scene when he’s told that Cha Ji Won has died. He said as he was wondering how to portray Hyun Soo who has lost Ji Won, he suddenly thought of a howling beast that licks its dead child, he said that he wanted to portray Hyun Soo’s sense of loss as everything falls apart in the most primitive way of crying, and afterward, Hyun Soo became a beast that can’t be controlled.
The actor mentioned that while filming that scene, he couldn’t stop himself from crying. He said, “To be honest, several days after filming that scene, he had no choice but to film with his eyes swollen.”
In the interview with ARENA, the “Flower of Evil’ star spoke about his passion for acting. “It’s a serious situation if I’m just doing the basics with my senses dulled,” he said. “I think it’s necessary for everyone, not just actors, to ask themselves, ‘Am I as fierce as I was in the past?’”
Lee Joon Ki doesn’t like stunt doubles
Lee loves learning and practicing a variety of martial arts in his free time, becoming so proficient, that he rarely uses stunt doubles. The actor has a fourth dan taekwondo black belt, a first dan hapkido black belt, and a first dan taekkyeon black belt. He even learned the Russian martial art system for his role in the Korean remake of Criminal Minds and Thai kick-boxing for Time Between Dog and Wolf. Fans can check out his training sessions on his Instagram.
No wonder the actor mentioned in the interview how he tries to avoid using stunt doubles. “Performing action scenes is also acting,” he said. “If you do the action scenes yourself, then the camera can get close so you can convey the reason why this person is fighting. There’s no need to do a wide shot or show the actor from the back.”
The actor also said that he’s 100 percent satisfied with his job. According to him, acting is not standing alone and hypnotizing others; on a set, everyone needs to come together and move like one orchestra,” he said. “All the crew members on set are the first viewers. He said, trusting them, makes him open to possibilities.
Introvert to assertive person
Lee Joon Ki also added that he likes people and needs people. He said that he always feels one with people when they are around him. He said he is always together with the people around him, and joining together with them creates the person who he is. The people who criticize him also guides, awakens, and motivates him all the time.
He said, when they go out drinking together after the day’s work, his voice is always hoarse. That is because he likes reading people more than reading books.
Arena homme plus showed him a photo of him when he was a child, Joon Ki laughed telling that he really was an introspective and quiet personality, but when he came to acting, he changed to an active personality. He said it was fate, and was a blessing. He said if he did not act or meet fans, he will be lonely and bored. He said that is the reason he communicates a lot with staff and fans, to erase the loneliness.
Actor Lee Joon Ki and human Lee Joon Ki cannot be compared. An individual who is passionate about work and people, Full Pictorial and sincere interview can be found at the November issue of Arena homme plus.
✔ ARENA’s November issue’ Lee Junki
His Drama history