Lee Jung Jae is currently a rich and powerful A-lister of Korea’s entertainment industry, but his starting point was actually very humble.
On January 13, Lee Jung Jae guested on the show “Yoo Quiz On The Block“. In a conversation with host Yoo Jae Suk, the actor opened up about his poor family background. The star of Netflix’s hit Squid Game said he spent his childhood living in a tiny apartment, lacking food and clothes.
“Luxurious, stylish, neat are the words that often appear next to actor Lee Jung Jae. However, the truth is, when I was a child, I lived in a cramped apartment that was even smaller than Sung Ki Hoon’s (his character in Squid Game) house. At least in Squid Game, Sung Ki Hoon’s place has two rooms, my house back then had no rooms. Because my family was poor, our daily meals were meager. There was only rice and some side vegetables”, Lee Jung Jae recalled.
The actor said that it was the difficult days of his childhood that helped him fully convey the character Sung Ki Hoon. “When I first went to the filming site in Ssangmun-dong, I reminisced about my past a lot. I also remembered my mother having a hard time. So whenever I had time, whether in the morning or at night, I continued to walk on the path by the marketplace. Doing that, I naturally became Sung Ki Hoon,” the Korean actor shared.
In addition, Lee Jung Jae revealed that his emaciated and disheveled appearance during the filming of Squid Game had led many colleagues to misunderstand him as having an incident in his life. “I have not cut my hair, shaved, nor cared about my clothes for almost a year. My friends were very worried, kept asking me how I was doing. They all have the same question as to what caused me to neglect myself,” he said.
Sharing about his future plans, Lee Jung Jae said that he would choose a character or a genre he had never tried before.
Lee Jung Jae was born in 1972, is one of the leading actors in Korea. In 2021, the actor became a global star thanks to the impact of “Squid Game“.
The male lead role in “Squid Game” brought the actor a nomination for the Best Actor award at the Golden Globes 2022. He is also one of two Korean artists honored by the New York Times as the breakout star of 2021.