Lee Byung-hun

Lee Byung-hun
2016-10-07 Lee Byung-hun Busan International Film Festival (4).jpg
Born (1970-07-12) July 12, 1970 (age 48)
Seoul, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Education Hanyang University (B.A. French Language and Literature)
Occupation Actor, model, singer
Agent BH Entertainment
Spouse(s) Lee Min-jung
Children 1
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised Romanization I Byeongheon
McCune–Reischauer Ri Pyŏnghŏn
Website www.leebyunghun.kr

Lee Byung-hun (Korean: 이병헌; born July 12, 1970) is a South Korean actor, singer and model. He has received critical acclaim for his work in a wide range of genres, most notably Joint Security Area (2000); A Bittersweet Life (2005); The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008); the television series Iris (2009); I Saw the Devil (2010); and Masquerade (2012). His critically acclaimed film Inside Men (2015) won him the Best Actor prize in three prestigious award ceremonies: 52nd Baeksang Art Awards, 37th Blue Dragon Awards and 53rd Grand Bell Awards — a feat that has yet to be repeated. Lee has five films—Joint Security Area, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, Masquerade, Inside Men and Master—on the list of highest-grossing films in South Korea.

In the United States, he is known for portraying Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and its sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), and starring alongside Bruce Willis in Red 2 (2013). He portrayed T-1000 in Terminator Genisys (2015) and Billy Rocks, a knife-wielding gunslinger, in The Magnificent Seven (2016). Lee was the first South Korean actor to present an Oscar at the annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[1] Lee and Ahn Sung-ki were the first South Korean actors to imprint their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

Career[]

Beginnings and breakthrough[]

Lee's career began in 1991 after a KBS talent audition and making his debut in the television drama Asphalt My Hometown.[2] Lee drew attention with the action drama Asphalt Man and romantic film The Harmonium in My Memory,[3] but it was only in 2000 that he made his big breakthrough with Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area. The film broke the box office record and became the highest grossing Korean film at the time.[4] Lee's role as a border-guard soldier won him the Best Actor award at the Busan Film Critics Awards.

Global stardom[]

In 2001, his popularity continued to climb when he starred in melodramas Beautiful Days and Bungee Jumping of Their Own.[5] In 2003, he received the Grand Prize at the SBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards for his role in the poker drama All In. Due to his film and television roles, Lee experienced a rise in popularity across Asia, particularly Japan.[6][7]

From 2005, he focused on film, earning critical acclaim for his performance in A Bittersweet Life directed by Kim Jee-woon,[8][9] which was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[10] Lee was nominated for Best Actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards and Grand Bell Awards, and won at the Chunsa Film Art Awards, Baeksang Arts Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.

He reunited with director Kim Jee-woon in the "kimchi western" The Good, the Bad, the Weird, taking on his first villain role.[11] The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.[12] Lee's eye-catching performance in the film led to increased global recognition for him.[13] This led to Lee's debut in Hollywood, where he played Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, also starring Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller.[14][15]

Back in Korea, he appeared in I Come with the Rain opposite American actor Josh Hartnett and Japanese actor Takuya Kimura.[16]

Lee returned to television in late 2009 in the espionage action thriller Iris as a secret agent who finds himself at the center of an international conspiracy.[17] He reportedly received over 100 million won per episode for his role, the third highest in the country's drama history.[18] Iris was one of the most expensive shows ever produced, and was a smash hit across Asia.[19][20] Lee's performance earned him the Grand Prize at the KBS Drama Awards and Best Actor at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[21][22]

In 2010, Lee starred in I Saw the Devil with Choi Min-sik,[23] his third collaboration with Kim Jee-woon, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[24] His portrayal of the intelligence agent won him the Grand Prize at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[25]

Acclaim and Hollywood roles[]

Lee received acclaim for his portrayal of dual roles in the lavish period drama Masquerade.[26] The film was a box office hit, becoming the 7th film in Korean history to surpass 10 million admissions.[27] Lee won Best Actor at the Grand Bell Awards for his performance.[28][29] and the Best Performance by an Actor at the 2013 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. On June 23, 2012, Lee, along with Ahn Sung-ki, became the first Korean actors to leave their hand and foot prints on the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. He was recognized as an emerging star in Hollywood for his role of Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and its sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[30]

At G.I. Joe Australia Premiere

In 2013, he reprised his role as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[31][32] Lee then co-starred in the American film RED 2, the sequel to the 2010 action-comedy hit RED, alongside Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich.[33][34]

Following his sex-chat scandal, Lee returned with the martial arts film Memories of the Sword in 2015. The film was shot in late 2013 and scheduled for release in 2014, but was postponed due to Lee's scandal.[35] He received praise for his scene-stealing role as a young and ambitious warrior with a lowly status, but the film failed to do well and was criticized for its messy plot.[36] The same year, Lee played a T-1000 in Terminator Genisys opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger.[37][38] He then starred in Woo Min-ho's political crime thriller Inside Men,[39] which became the top grossing R-rated movie of all-time at the Korean Box Office.[40] Touted as the "star" of the film, Lee received critical acclaim and swept Best Actor awards at various film awards ceremonies.[41][42]

In 2016, Lee featured in the American crime thriller Misconduct.[43][44] On 28 February 2016, Lee attended the 88th Academy Awards and presented the "Best Foreign Language Film" award with actress Sofia Vergara. He was the first Korean actor to present an award at the Oscars.[45][46] The same year, Lee co-starred as knife-wielding gunslinger Billy Rocks in The Magnificent Seven with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke.[47][48]

Returning to Korea, Lee starred in the crime thriller Master,[49][50] followed by mystery drama Single Rider.[51][52]

In March 2017, Lee signed on with major Hollywood agency United Talent Agency.[53] He was cast in the Hollywood action film Radiance. The film is directed by Patrick Lussier, who worked with Lee in Terminator Genisys.[54]

Lee then starred in historical epic The Fortress,[55] and comedy-drama film Keys to the Heart.[56][57] In 2018, Lee made his television comeback in Mr. Sunshine, written by Kim Eun-sook.[58]

Other work[]

Lee formed a management company, BH Entertainment, which manages many actors including Han Hyo-joo, Go Soo, Jin Goo, and Han Ji-min.[59] He owns a shop, BHNC, which sells hats, scarfs and wallets.[60]

Lee Byung-hun is noted in the video game industry for providing his likeness for the main character, Wayne Holden, in the 2006 game Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, for the Xbox 360, PS3 & PC.[citation needed]

Ambassador roles[]

In 2010, Lee was named California's tourism promotion ambassador to Korea.[61]

In 2013, Lee was selected as an honorary ambassador for this year’s annual meeting of the Association of Film Commissioners International, a group dedicated to helping facilitate international coproductions.[62] The same year, he was appointed honorary ambassador to promote the 50th Daejong Film Awards.[63]

Personal life[]

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. He has a younger sister, Lee Eun-hee, who was Miss Korea in 1996.[3] He graduated from Hanyang University with a major in French Literature and the Graduate School of Chung-Ang University with a major in Theater and Cinematography.[2][64] In his spare time, Lee Byung-hun practices taekwondo.[65][66]

Lee married actress Lee Min-jung on August 10, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul.[67] The couple had briefly dated in 2006, then resumed their relationship in 2012.[68] Lee's wife gave birth to their first child, a son, Lee Joon-hoo, on March 31, 2015.[69]

Blackmail scandal[]

On August 28, 2014, Lee was blackmailed by singer Dahee (ko) from K-pop girl group GLAM[70] and model Lee Ji-yeon[71] who blackmailed him for 5 billion won in exchange for not releasing, on the internet, a compromising video of him making sexual jokes while drinking with them on July 3.[72][73][74][75] Dahee and Lee Ji-yeon were arrested on September 1,[76] after Lee reported the crime to police when they handed him two suitcases to transport the money.[77] It was later revealed that the crime was fully intentional and pre-planned, as both Dahee and Lee Ji-yeon looked for plane tickets to escape to Europe[78] and purchased two suitcases to be used for transporting the money.[79] Moreover, the two women attempted to film an additional video of Lee hugging Lee Ji-yeon by secretly placing a smartphone in a kitchen sink, but they failed to do so.[80] However, Lee Ji-yeon claimed that the blackmailing was an impulsive act after Lee broke up with her,[81][82] for which Lee Byung Hun’s agency released an official statement stating that Lee had not once met her alone and that he mentioned to the two women that he wanted to stop meeting them when he sensed ulterior motives from them after talking about their financially difficulties[79] and demanding he buys them a house.[83] The final trial was held at the Seoul District Court on January 15, 2015,[84] where Dahee was sentenced to a year in jail and Lee Ji-yeon to a year and two months in jail.[85][86] On February, following the sentencing, Lee requested a pardon for the women while the prosecution in charge felt that the sentence was too lenient.[87] On March, both women, who were in jail for six months, received a suspended sentence for two years following Lee's pardon request.[88]

Suspicious gambling charge[]

Lee Byung-hun was sued by his girlfriend who broke up in 2009. His girlfriend claimed Lee hurt her mentally and physically because she only used him for entertainment, and sued him for compensation and chronic gambling charges worth 100 million won. Lee, on the other hand, claimed that her claims were all false, and that the men behind her claim demanded money from her to reveal the truth about her relationship with her girlfriend, and then responded with the threat.[89][90][91]

In the process of the increasingly heated debate between the two, TV show host Kang Byung-kyu appeared at the shooting scene of the TV drama Iris, adding Kang to the violent incident. On the other hand, when suspicions arose that Kang was the one who threatened Lee, Lee also sued him.[92][93]

Lee Byung-hun was cleared of charges in 2010,[94] and her claim for damages was dropped because she also refused to participate.[95] On the other hand, Kang was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of probation in 2013 on charges of assault and intimidation against Iris.[96]

Filmography[]

Film[]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Who Drives Me Crazy Lee Jong-du
Runaway Lee Dong-ho
1996 Kill the Love Love
1997 Elegy of the Earth Park Jong-man
1999 The Harmonium in My Memory Kang Soo-ha
2000 Joint Security Area Lee Soo-hyeok
2001 Bungee Jumping of Their Own Seo In-woo
2002 My Beautiful Girl, Mari Adult Nam-woo voice
Addicted Dae-jun
2004 Everybody Has Secrets Choi Su-hyeon
Three Extremes - segment "Cut" Ryu Ji-ho short film
2005 A Bittersweet Life Kim Sun-woo
2006 Once in a Summer Yun Suk-young
2007 Hero Kang Min-woo cameo[97]
2008 The Good, the Bad, the Weird Park Chang-yi, the Bad
2009 I Come with the Rain Su Dongpo
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Thomas "Tommy" Arashikage / Storm Shadow
2010 The Influence W Internet film[98]
Iris: The Movie Kim Hyun-jun
I Saw the Devil Kim Soo-hyeon
2012 Masquerade King Gwanghae / Beggar Ha-sun
2013 G.I. Joe: Retaliation Thomas "Tommy" Arashikage / Storm Shadow
RED 2 Han Cho-bai
2015 Terminator Genisys Cop / T-1000
Memories of the Sword Deok-gi / Song Yoo-baek
Inside Men Ahn Sang-goo
2016 Misconduct The Accountant
The Age of Shadows Jeong Chae-san cameo[99]
The Magnificent Seven Billy Rocks
Master President Jin
2017 Single Rider Kang Jae-hoon
The Fortress Choi Myung-kil
2018 Keys to the Heart Jo-ha

Television series[]

Year Title Role
1991 Asphalt My Hometown Jinwoo
Family
Flower That Never Wilt
1992 Days of Sunshine Choi Hyung-man
Dawn
Tomorrow Love Shin Bum-soo
1993 The Sorrow of the Survivor Yi Ja-myung
Police Oh Hae-sung
1994 The Fragrance of Love Kim Jun-ho
1995 Asphalt Man Kang Dong-joon
Son of Wind Chang Hong-pyo
1997 Beautiful My Lady Hwang Jun-ho
I Do
1998 White Nights 3.98 Min Gyeong-bin
1999 Happy Together Suh Tae-poong
Love Story - Story 1: Sunflower Tae-sung
Sally is Back
2001 Road Woo-sik
Beautiful Days Lee Min-chul
2003 All In Kim In-ha
2009 Iris Kim Hyun-jun
2011 Diplomat Kosaku Kuroda John (cameo)[100]
2018 Mr. Sunshine Eugene Choi

Others[]

Year Title Role
2006 Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Wayne Holden
2012 The Final Empire Narrator[101]
2013 CGV 4DX trailer Himself[102]
2013 Lee Byung Hun Documentary Himself[103]
2017 I Luv It” music video by Psy Himself[104]

Discography[]

Albums[]

Year Album Name
1999 Lee Byung Hun - To Me

Singles[]

Year Single Name
2008 "Itsuka (Someday)"

Soundtrack[]

Year Track Album
2010 "Stay" Iris OST
"Endless Road"

Awards and nominations[]

References[]

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  104. ^ "Actor Lee Byung-hun to star in Psy's new music video". The Korea Times. April 26, 2017. 

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