Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Lee Joon Gi is loved for his outstanding acting prowess and unique looks. He skyrocketed to stardom by exuding a mysterious charm in the movie The King and the Clown, in which he played the role of Gong Gil after coming through a tough competition. Currently, he’s presenting an exhilarating thrill as a prosecutor going out for absolute evil in his comeback project Again My Life. This article introduces the five dramas that made him who he is now.
My Girl (2005)
My Girl draws out the romance between Joo Yu Rin (Lee Da Hae), a con artist who can’t be hated, and Seol Gong Chan (Lee Dong Wook), a cold-hearted businessman. Lee Joon Gi took on the role of Jung Woo, a ladies’ man, playing a big role in the drama’s popularity. His boyish face and layered haircut, leaving a unique impression on the viewers. In particular, his smiling eyes added persuasion to Jung Woo’s optimistic tendency to do everything he wanted to do before he died. Also, he showcased intense action sequences from his first appearance, fighting Italian mafias, and this became the groundwork of Lee Joon Gi’s next 20-year career as the “master of action.” Meanwhile, the time My Girl aired coincided with the release of The King and the Clown, which made headlines for his unconventional transformation into an effeminate clown, so his popularity at the time was close to a syndrome.
Time Between Dog and Wolf (2007)
Time Between Dog and Wolf is a noir drama about a man who vows revenge after losing his mother to a crime gang. Lee Joon Gi played Lee Soo Hyun, a NIS agent who lives with the scars of his parents’ death, showing a new face that he had never shown before. Soo Hyun disguised himself as a man named “K” to go undercover at the crime gang but ended up losing his memories in an accident. The French phrase “L’heure entre chien et loup,” which is also the title of the drama, refers to a moment when it’s difficult to tell whether the one in the distance is a dog or a wolf as darkness slowly descends. Lee Joon Gi flawlessly portrayed a role that fits the title, going back and forth between good and evil – Soo Hyun and K. With this drama, he completely broke away from his image as “the actor with a beautiful face” and was reborn as an actor with impressive skills.
Two Weeks (2012)
Two Weeks begins when a third-rate thug Jang Tae San finds out that he has a daughter with leukemia. He, who had never committed himself to live his life to the fullest, schedules an operation to save his daughter but gets arrested as a murder suspect. The only thing he can do to save his daughter is to make a run for it. The drama swiftly follows Tae San’s two-week escape, from the first time he meets his daughter to the time he successfully gets the surgery after clearing himself. Lee Joon Gi, who played his first father role, so delicately painted out the paternal love, and at the same time adding thrill to the project with his intense action scenes. His commitment, even getting buried under a pile of dirt and drifting in the stream, was a hot topic.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is a fusion historical drama that begins when 21st-century woman Go Ha Jin (IU) is transported back in time during a solar eclipse. Lee Joon Gi took on the role of Wang So, who portrayed himself to be a “wolf-dog” to protect himself in the middle of a bloody battle of power over the throne. Wang So, tough and cold-hearted yet innocent and romantic towards the woman he loves, was a character that spotlighted Lee Joon Gi’s deep, mournful emotional acting. His last scene as a lonely monarch, standing alone in the palace, missing his lost love, left a deep afterglow. Recently, Lee Joon Gi appeared on the YouTube show THE MMTG SHOW and shared that they filmed an alternate ending scene where Wang So and Ha Jin reunite but that it didn’t get picked in the end.
Lawless Lawyer (2018)
Lee Joon Gi and Time Between Dog and Wolf director Kim Jin Min reteamed after 12 years for Lawless Lawyer. It tells the story of Bong Sang Pil, a gangster-turned-lawyer who risks his life to fight against those with absolute power to avenge his mother’s death. The two dramas have the same plot of a protagonist witnessing his mother’s death and vowing revenge, but Lawless Lawyer created a difference by adding colorful actions on top of a legal drama. Lee Joon Gi lost weight and buffed up his body for the role and created swift action sequences using jiu-jitsu. The show delivered a thrilling catharsis by depicting the story of tearing down the evil with the law with a fast-moving development and unexpected twists.
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 Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.