K-Star’s Best Character: Lee Joon: A Great Example of a Successful Idol Turned Actor

Lee Joon drama

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Esther Lee

Lee Joon Bulgasal
Credit: tvN

Although he originally dreamt of becoming an actor, Lee Joon set his foot in the entertainment industry as a member of the boy group MBLAQ. After debuting as young Rain in Ninja Assassin (2009), he was dubbed “the youngest Korean actor to enter Hollywood.” Lee Joon was then praised for his role as Oh Young, a rookie actor who fluctuates between fame and pain in the independent film Rough Play (2013).

Lee Joon then took on the role of a serial killer named Ryu Tae Oh in tvN’s crime drama Gap Dong (2014), which is based on the real-life Hwaseong serial murders. Tae Oh looks up to serial killer Gap Dong as his role model and commits murders following Gap Dong’s footsteps. Lee Joon portrayed the psychopathic figure with intricate detail as he slowly unveiled his motives and the psychological changes he had undergone. His character frightened the audience as he instilled fear with his creepy smile and cold gaze. He also presented a sinister performance in the movie The Piper in 2015.

In SBS’ black comedy-drama Heard It Through the Grapevine (2015), Lee Joon starred as Han In Sang, a young man from an upper-class family who grew up extremely sheltered. His character Han In Sang thinks that the privileges he enjoys are natural rights for everyone but soon realizes this isn’t true after meeting Seo Bom (Go Ah Sung) and eventually falls in love with her. Lee Joon’s performance in the drama earned him the Excellent Actor Award at the 8th Korea Drama Awards for his portrayal of a figure who can be pathetic at times but other times loveable.

Lee Joon is currently starring in two newly released Netflix series. He co-starred with Gong Yoo and Bae Doo Na in the Netflix Original The Silent Sea as Ryu Tae Suk, an elite senior engineer from the Ministry of National Defense. Ryu Tae Suk is a member of a voluntary research team that is on a mission to retrieve an unknown sample from Balhae Station on the moon. He is a figure who raises tension in the second half of the show by introducing a startling plot twist.

He is also starring in tvN’s Bulgasal: Immortal Souls as a villain named Ok Eul Tae. Considering the positive responses he’s been getting, this new series may give him another turning point in his acting career. To briefly introduce his character, Ok Eul Tae is an immortal creature called bulgasal disguised as a successful businessman. Lee Joon is successfully portraying his character’s insanity and eerie playfulness, amplifying his grotesque nature.

Lee Joon is expected to star in an upcoming KBS historical drama called Red Heart as King Lee Tae who dreams of becoming an absolute monarch. The drama is set to air in the first half of 2022. Lee Joon’s performance in 2022 is even more anticipated, as he has consistently proved himself with great performances and versatile characters.


Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

Translator Esther Lee: I’ll be providing you with up-to-date, reliable Korean entertainment news. Enjoy!


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