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Lee Sun-kyun drops out from ‘No Way Out’

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Oct. 23, 2023 - 16:49

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Lee Sun-kyun (Hodu&U Entertainment) Lee Sun-kyun (Hodu&U Entertainment)

Prolific actor Lee Sun-kyun, who has recently come under police investigation for suspected drug use, is dropping out from his latest project, “No Way Out,” a mystery thriller series that began shooting this month.

According to the entertainment industry, the production company notified its actors and staff that shooting would be postponed for two weeks to reorganize the cast.

Following the police announcement on Friday concerning the investigation into Lee, staff of “No Way Out” changed the schedule to shoot scenes of other actors first. But after police said they may seek a warrant to take a hair sample from the 48-year-old for drug testing in case he refuses to comply, the production company reportedly decided to remove him from the project. Lee is suspected of having used unspecified illicit substances on several occasions and at several places in southern Seoul's Gangnam.

Lee was officially booked late Monday evening for his illegal use of drug.

“No Way Out,” a series from LG Uplus’ content production arm Studio X+U, revolves around serial killer Kim Gook-ho (Yoo Jae-myung), who is being hunted down by police officer Baek Jung-sik (Lee). The series garnered media attention after Taiwanese actor and singer Greg Hanchosee chose it for his Korean TV drama debut.

In addition, two films in which Lee stars – “Project Silence” and “Land of Happiness” -- may see their debuts delayed. The production firms said they will consider releasing the respective movies next year, and will watch the situation as the police investigation continues.

Brands that have used Lee and his wife, actor Jeon Hye-jin, as ambassadors or in advertisements have also rapidly changed their promotions.

SK Telecom and SK Broadband have erased the couple's faces from their ads. Pharmaceutical brand CellMed revised its promotional phrase -- “the one Lee Sun-kyun has chosen” -- and changed advertisement footage uploaded on YouTube to private.

Meanwhile, according to media reports on Monday, Lee’s attorney argued that Lee does not know the others who are also under investigation for possible drug use. Korean media have reported that Han Seo-hee, a former K-pop trainee who was embroiled in controversy in 2017 for smoking cannabis with former Big Bang member T.O.P, and Hwang Ha-na, the granddaughter of the Namyang Dairy Products founder, were among those under investigation.