Lee Je-hoon: From 4-Month Fasting for ‘Escape’ to Near-death Regret ‘I Almost Died’

Lee Je-hoon revealed his goals as an actor starting from the filming of 'Escape'.

In an interview on JTBC’s ‘News Room’ broadcasted on July 7th, Lee Je-hoon shared his inner thoughts.

Lee Je-hoon starred in the movie ‘Escape’ (directed by Lee Jong-pil), which was released on July 3rd. ‘Escape’ depicts the life-or-death chase between North Korean soldier Gyunam (played by Lee Je-hoon) and Officer Hyeon-sang (played by Koo Kyo-hwan).

Lee Je-hoon portrayed Sergeant Gyunam, who faces the end of his 10-year service near the ceasefire line in the northernmost front-line unit, risking his life in front of the North Korean army, falling into swamps and crossing minefields.

Lee Je-hoon

“I really depicted the desperation of someone fleeing during filming. It was a challenge I took on with everything I had, running, rolling, and colliding,” he recalled the moment he played Gyunam.

He then revealed the “most concerning part”, saying, “Being in such harsh conditions, I couldn’t eat properly. I portrayed a character like Gyunam, who shares what little food he has with fellow soldiers. It reminded me of dry firewood. To do that, I had to severely restrict my food intake, fasting for four and a half months,” explaining how he created the visual of the North Korean army.

When the host expressed surprise, asking how he managed without eating while exerting so much effort, Lee replied, “So I felt dizzy often. But even a sip of water, a piece of chocolate, everything mattered. I was deeply immersed. I had to show the appearance of a person hanging on without sleeping, to be shown on a big screen and delivered to the audience.”

He added with admiration, “There may have been shortcomings in my acting, but I filmed every scene with no regrets, giving it my all. I poured everything into it.”

Lee Je-hoon also faces a crisis in ‘Escape’ when he falls into a deep swamp.

When asked about this scene, Lee Je-hoon responded, “I think I ate a lot of dirt,” then unexpectedly said, “Fortunately, the art team filled the swamp with very tasty nuts. I enjoyed eating it during filming. It was actually good.”

He continued, expressing gratitude, “These days, thanks to the strength of the art and props teams, I can film extreme scenes smoothly and safely. I’m thankful for that.”

Lee Je-hoon also expressed his enthusiasm for playing villain roles. “I have a strong desire to play villains. I’ve done a lot of righteous characters, but now I want to try playing a mysterious character who isn’t clearly good or evil,” he said with a gleam in his eyes.

He underwent emergency surgery for acute ischemic colitis. “I thought I was taking care of my health, but unfortunately, something like acute ischemic colitis happened suddenly,” he said. 

“Before undergoing surgery, I signed a consent form for death. My life flashed before my eyes like a shooting star. I wondered if I had lived without regrets. Just before closing my eyes, I thought, ‘I almost died.'”

He continued, “I thought about doing what I wanted to do, which is what I’m doing now with YouTube filming. I love movies, but seeing many independent movie theaters disappearing made me start introducing precious theaters. So, I started with the intention of introducing theaters on my YouTube channel. I don’t know how long I’ll do it, but I want to make about 100 films.” 

Source: naver

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