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Motion pictures And TV Exhibits That Mark The Prolific Legacy of Late Korean Actor Lee Solar-kyun

Motion pictures And TV Exhibits That Mark The Prolific Legacy of Late Korean Actor Lee Solar-kyun

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A string of awards and critically-acclaimed movies and TV shows — including the Hallyu hit Parasite — underline the career of late actor Lee Sun-kyun. His palpable passion for his craft translated to an eclectic filmography — featuring titles ranging from romantic comedies to revenge thrillers. We’re going down the memory lane to look at a few of his projects that left an indelible footprint on the Korean entertainment industry.

In 2020, Lee Sun-kyun bore witness to — and made — history when the dark comedy thriller he’d starred in became the first non-English language film to take the top prize at the Oscars. That night, he also took home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. This was testament to the drama graduate’s acting prowess — furthered by a career exploring diverse and challenging roles.

In fact, over the course of two decades, the star stepped into the shoes of a record producer, structural engineer, brain scientist, and even the ringleader of a political protest group. “Acting is what powers me to grow and contemplate. I’m thankful that I’m doing this for a living,” he once told Korea Herald. Needless to say, he was quite the household name even before Parasite propelled him to global fame. We take a look at some of late Lee Sun Kyun’s best movies and TV shows.

Best movies and TV shows of late actor Lee Sun Kyun

Coffee Prince

Directed by: Lee Yoon-jung

Cast: Yoon Eun-hye, Gong Yoo, Lee Sun-kyun, Chae Jung-an

Release date: 2 July 2007

Episodes: 17

Synopsis: Go Eun Chan (played by Yoon Eun-hye) is often mistaken for a man due to her fashion choices and mannerisms. She leverages this to provide for her family, agreeing to masquerade as the same-sex partner of Choi Han Kyul (played by Gong Yoo), who wishes to evade blind dates set up by his grandfather. However, when the two are tasked with managing a rundown coffee shop, things get complicated. Also in the picture? Record producer Choi Han-sung (played by Lee Sun-kyun) who is in a complicated relationship with the latter’s ex-girlfriend Han Yoo-joo (played by Chae Jung-an).

The show was a wild success, making the actor a household name. He also earned a nomination in the Excellence Award, Actor category at the 2007 MBC Drama Awards.


Directed by: Park Chan-ok

Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, Seo Woo

Release date: 29 October, 2009

Synopsis: After a disaster, Joong-shik (played by Lee Sun-kyun) holes up in the desolate city of Paju near the North Korean border. There he heads religious studies in a school and wins the heart of a local house owner — despite the disapproval of the younger sister and his student Eun-mo (played by Seo Woo). Years later — as he heads a protest group to prevent gentrification — the sister disappears. Eun-mo is convinced Joong-shik killed her for insurance money. However, with only him around as her sole guardian, she begins to grow fond of him.

The critically-acclaimed movie earned the actor the best actor title at the 11th Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival.


Directed by: Kwon Seok-jang

Cast: Gong Hyo-jin, Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Hanee, Alex Chu

Release date: 4 January 2010

Episodes: 20

Synopsis: Kitchen assistant Seo Yoo-kyung (played by Gong Hyo-jin) dreams of being a chef and mastering Italian cuisine. Things take a turn when the restaurant she works at hires the chauvinistic, Italian expert Choi Hyun-wook (played by Lee Sun-kyun) as the head chef. She’s soon fired along with the entire female staff at the establishment and stubbornly works her way back in, determined to keep her job.

The show was well received by critics and viewers alike, furthering Lee Sun-kyun’s popularity in the process. For his performance, he won the Top 10 Asian Stars title at the 2010 CETV Awards. He also earned a nomination in the Top Excellence Award, Actor category at the MBC Drama Awards that year.

A Hard Day

Directed by: Kim Seong-hun

Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Jin-woong

Release date: 18 May, 2014

Synopsis: In the span of 24 hours, detective Go Geon-soo (played by Lee Sun-kyun) is handed a divorce notice from his wife, given news of his mother’s death, and placed under investigation for alleged embezzlement. To make matters worse, he gets involved in a fatal hit and run — which he tries to cover up by hiding the man’s corpse in his mother’s coffin. However, he soon gets a strange call from a witness to the crime, who begins to threaten him.

The movie was a wild success, earning Lee Sun-kyun a string of nominations in award shows and upping his popularity. He also bagged the Best Actor title at the 51st Baeksang Arts Awards for his stellar performance.

My Mister

Directed by: Kim Won-seok

Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, Lee Ji-eun

Release date: 21 March, 2018

Episodes: 16

Synopsis: 21-year-old Lee Ji-an (played by IU) is ridden with debt. She struggles to make ends meet, working a temporary job while looking after her sick grandmother. Along the way, she grows close to her stoic supervisor Park Dong-hoon (played by Lee Sun Kyun) who’s burdened by a dysfunctional family and scrutiny from the people around him.

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The show is a classic, popular with global and Korean audiences. For his performance, Lee Sun-kyun earned a sea of nominations across major award shows — 6th APAN Star Awards, 2nd The Seoul Awards, and 55th Baeksang Arts Awards.


Directed by: Bong Joon-ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin

Release date: 21 May 2019

Synopsis: Poverty-stricken Kims live in a basement in Seoul. Things look up when the family’s son lands a well-paid tutoring gig – the interview for which is at the sprawling home of the wealthy Park family, headed by Park Dong-ik (played by Lee Sun-kyun). What follows is a parasitic relationship between the two families, as the Kims work with the Parks to make ends meet.

The Hallyu hit was hailed for its intelligent storytelling, bagging an Oscar for Best Picture. For his stellar performance, Lee took home a Screen Actor’s Guild Award.


Directed by: Byun Sung-hyun

Cast: Sol Kyung-gu, Lee Sun-kyun

Release date: 26 January, 2022

Synopsis: Based on true events, this movie looks at political strategist Seo Chang-dae (played by Lee Sun-kyun) who values winning above all else and dreams of changing the world. He crafts an aggressive campaign for Kim Woon-beom (played by Sol Kyung-gu), making him a strong candidate in the presidential election. While the former isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to get the job done, the latter believes in staying clean. They lock horns, all while the ruling party secretly reaches out to Seo Chang-dae to win.

The film was a wild success, hailed for its convincing storytelling. For his performance, Lee Sun-kyun earned a nomination at the 58th Baeksang Arts Awards.

Which of these movies and TV shows helmed by the late Lee Sun-kyun do you think features his most impactful role?

All images: Courtesy Parasite/IMDb

The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

Source: Prestige Online

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