The Korea Herald


[New on the Scene] Lee Jun-young shows new level of villain in latest role

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Oct. 24, 2023 - 14:49

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Lee Jun-young (Mind Mark) Lee Jun-young (Mind Mark)

Actor Lee Jun-young, who was recognizable for his villainous roles in “D.P.” and “Mask Girl,” has shown another level of villian in his first film “Brave Citizen” directed by Park Jin-pyo.

In "Brave Citizen," Lee stars as a student named Han Soo-gang (Lee Jun-young), dubbed "crazy dog" for his bullying antics, constantly beating up not-so-well-off classmates. His merciless bullying is hard to stomach, such as when Soo-gang puts a plastic bag over a classmate's head, along with other brutal acts.

“I worried a lot. It was my first commercial film and it was a project that had been completed two years ago. I even asked the director if I did okay. After watching it, I found the film had really maximized my acting as a villain,” Lee told The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Oct. 19.

He said that he and the film's director Park shared many discussions on how to find the best angle to make him look more like a bad guy.

“I always thought that I had kind eyes,” said Lee, laughing.

“But director Park said that when I talk about something serious, my sharp-sighted eagle eyes comes out. He also wanted me to practice giving a dirty look. So whenever I looked into a mirror, in a car or while brushing my teeth, I would practice making such a face and eyes, telling myself that I was evil,” said Lee.

In addition, Lee also made use of his tongue to show a more villainous side of his character.

“It was my idea to use my tongue, like sticking it out or biting someone’s ear, because I wanted to make a signature habit of Han Soo-gang. Like in the Bible where a snake uses its tongue, I wanted to be reminded of Satan. Maybe it was a one-dimensional idea, but the director liked it,” said Lee.

While there may have been pressure on the actor to play one villain role after another -- from Jung Hyun-min in “D.P.” and Choi Bu-young in “Mask Girl” -- Lee said he hesitated at first.

“For a scene, I had to harass a classmate's grandmother. It was a time when my own grandma was sick. So shooting that scene on that day was especially difficult for me. I concentrated on shooting, but I cried after. It was really difficult to express and control my emotions that went back and forth (while acting),” Lee said.

“Brave Citizens” (Mind Mark) “Brave Citizens” (Mind Mark)

The 26-year-old actor said regardless of the roles he takes, he is earning incomparable and valuable lessons.

“Because I debuted while I was in high school, I had to drop out of school. I also lack work experience (outside of acting). That’s why I find emotions coming from acting in various roles to be life lessons. It’s very interesting. When I play a firefighter, I have the pressure and responsibility of having to save people’s lives. So I’m sure that accumulating such lessons and emotions will help me develop into a better actor,” said Lee.

“Brave Citizens” opens in local theaters on Oct. 25.

The following article is the 12th in a series that introduces Korea’s new and emerging actors and directors. -- Ed.