T.O.P’s Casting in ‘Squid Game 2’ Triggers Backlash on Lee Jung Jae & Lee Byung Hun

squid game 2 cast
squid game 2 cast
Credit: Netflix

Former Big Bang member Choi Seung Hyun (T.O.P), who previously faced a drug scandal, is now at the center of controversy following his casting in Netflix’s Squid Game 2. Speculation is swirling about the potential involvement of Lee Jung Jae and Lee Byung Hun in the casting decision due to their close ties with Choi.

 

On the 29th, Netflix announced the rest of the cast lineup for season two of Squid Game. The lineup includes Lee Jin Wook, Choi Seung Hyun, Park Gyu Young, and more. However, the inclusion of Choi Seung Hyun, who had implied his retirement from the entertainment industry following a drug scandal, has stirred controversy. Choi was prosecuted in 2017 for smoking marijuana at his residence in 2016 during his alternate military service. He received a 10-month prison sentence with two years probation in July 2017.

People have expressed doubts about Choi’s casting in the globally anticipated show, considering his past legal issues and lengthy hiatus from acting.

squid game 2 cast
Credit: Getty Images Korea, iMBC, Showbox

The surprising casting of Choi has put Lee Jung Jae and Lee Byung Hun in the spotlight. Speculations are rife that either of them, given their close relations with Choi, could have influenced the decision of Director Hwang Dong Hyuk or the production company.

Lee Jung Jae’s past close relationship with Choi has been highlighted, adding fuel to the speculations. Recently, photos of Lee enjoying a date with his partner Lim Se Ryung, Vice Chairwoman of Daesang Group, at a luxury villa owned by Choi in 2014, have resurfaced.

On the 29th, the actor’s agency Artist Company responded to these rumors. “The casting of a production falls strictly under the authority of the director and the production company,” they stated. They clarified that the cast of Squid Game 2 was determined through auditions and that Lee knows that many actors are working hard to get a part in this project.

After Lee Jung Jae’s response, the focus of suspicions shifted to Lee Byung Hun. It was revealed that Kang Jung Woo, the CEO of T.O.P’s management, was formerly the head of Lee Byung Hun’s agency, BH Entertainment. In response to these claims, BH Entertainment stated that they have “nothing to say.”

Previously, Netflix indefinitely postponed the release of all the projects starring Yoo Ah In when he faced a trial for drug allegations. Amid such circumstances, questions are escalating about the decision to cast Choi, who also has a drug scandal history, in a production with a whopping 100 billion won (about $76 million) budget.

Meanwhile, Squid Game 2 is scheduled to begin shooting in the second half of this year.

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