Get to Know Lee Joon-gi
Lee Joon-gi is a popular South Korean actor from Busan. He was born on April 17, 1982, and made his acting debut in Nonstop 4 in 2003. He had his first main role in the film The King and the Clown in 2005, which made him rise to fame. Since then, he has starred in many dramas and movies, including the final project of the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in 2016, where he made his Hollywood debut.
Among his projects since 2013, here are Lee Joon-gi’s top seven dramas recommended by Channel-Korea.
Arang and the Magistrate
Arang and the Magistrate is a historical television drama from 2012 starring Lee Joon-gi, Shin Min-ah, and Yeon Woo-jin. The period horror-romance is based on the folklore of Arang, who died unjustly and returns as a ghost in order to reveal the circumstances surrounding her death. It was aired on MBC from August 15 to October 18, 2012, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 KST, with a total of 20 episodes. Lee Joon-gi played as Kim Eun-oh, a government official who can see and hear ghosts.
(SPOILER ALERT) Here are the plot synopsis and video trailer for Arang and the Magistrate:
A nobleman named Kim Eun-oh (played by Lee Joon-gi) comes to town searching for his mother, after hearing a rumor that she is staying at the village of Miryang. He has the special ability to hear, see, and touch spirits, but pretends he doesn’t because he gets annoyed when they ask him for favors.
Arang (played by Shin Min-ah) lost all her memories when she became a ghost and is unable to rest in peace until she finds out how she died. She appears to three magistrates, none of them survive the fright of seeing her. When she finds out that Eun-oh is able to see her, she begs for his help.
Arang and the Magistrate is Lee Joon-gi’s first drama after completing his military service in February 2012. Through this drama, he won the Best Couple Award with Shin Min-ah on the 2012 MBC Drama Awards, and he was nominated for the Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries. He also won the Outstanding Korean Drama Actor at the 2013 Seoul International Drama Awards. The premiere episode of Arang and the Magistrate achieved a nationwide rating of 13.3% in viewership, according to AGB Nielsen Media Research, 4.2% higher than the last episode of its predecessor, I Do I Do.
Two Weeks is a 2013 action-thriller television drama starring Lee Joon-gi, Kim So-yeon, Ryu Soo-young, Park Ha-sun, Jo Min-ki, and Lee Chae-mi. It was aired on MBC from August 7 to September 23, 2013, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 KST with a total of 16 episodes. The premiere episode hit the series lowest nationwide rating in viewership, 7.5%, but after that it was well-received among the viewers.
In this drama, Lee Joon-gi played as Jang Tae-san, a father struggling to save his daughter from leukemia while fighting a murder charge.
(SPOILER ALERT) Here are the plot synopsis and video trailer for Two Weeks:
Jang Tae-san (played by Lee Joon-gi) is a small-time gangster who has learned to survive with his fists and wits. He meets and falls in love with a college student, Seo In-hye (played by Park Ha-sun), who sees the good heart and wounded soul underneath his tough exterior. When In-hye gets pregnant, Tae-san prepares to leave the gangster organization to start a life with her, but he is blackmailed by the gang boss, Moon Il-seok (played by Jo Min-gi), who wants Tae-san to be his fall guy for an assault charge and go to prison in his place; Il-seok threatens to kill In-hye if Tae-san refuses. So Tae-san tells In-hye to get an abortion and cruelly breaks up with her, then goes off to prison for several years.
Eight years later, Tae-san is running a small pawnshop. One day, In-hye unexpectedly pays him a visit and tells him that she had the baby after all, but her daughter has been diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Since she isn’t a match, that leaves Tae-san. Reeling from the discovery that he’s a father and wanting to do something good for once in his meaningless life, Tae-san agrees to undergo the surgery, which is scheduled to take place in two weeks.
But he becomes embroiled in political intrigue when Il-seok conspires with a corrupt politician, Jo Seo-hee (played by Kim Hye-ok), to frame Tae-san for the murder of an undercover agent who had infiltrated the gang under the orders of prosecutor Park Jae-kyung (played by Kim So-yeon). Tae-san is arrested by detective Im Seung-woo (played by Ryu Soo-young), who happens to be In-hye’s current fiancé.
While being transported, the police car he’s in gets into an accident and Tae-san escapes. Now a fugitive, he is hunted by both the police and an assassin, and what ensues is two weeks of his desperate struggle to save both his own life and his daughter’s.
The year after his drama Arang and the Magistrate, Lee Joon-gi chose Two Weeks as his next project. Through this drama, he won the Top Excellence Award, Actor at the second APAN Star Awards (2013), and he was nominated at the 2013 MBC Drama Awards for the Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries and the 50th Baeksang Arts Awards (2014) as Most Popular Actor (TV).
Lee Joon-gi once revealed that he suffered from mood swings and depression as an after-effect of filming Two Weeks, but he overcame the emotional changes after filming. This drama was also his last project with his former agency, JG Company, before moving to Namoo Actors.
Gunman in Joseon
Gunman in Joseon is a 2014 historical-action television drama starring Lee Joon-gi, Nam Sang-mi, Jeon Hye-bin, Han Joo-wan, and Yoo Oh-seong. It was aired on KBS2 from June 25 to September 4, 2014, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 KST with a total of 22 episodes. The drama’s timeline is set in the 19th century Joseon dynasty, Lee Joon-gi played as Park Yoon-kang/Hasegawa Hanjo, the son of the best swordsman in the country, who was forced to give up his sword and became a shooter. The last episode of the drama hit 12.8%, the highest rating nationwide in viewership according to AGB Nielsen Media Research.
(SPOILER ALERT) Here are the plot synopsis and video trailer of Gunman in Joseon:
Park Yoon-kang (played by Lee Joon-gi) is the son of the last great swordsman of 19th century Joseon. After the tragic death of his father (played by Choi Jae-sung) and the enslavement of his younger sister (played by Kim Hyun-soo), Yoon-kang gives up his sword for a Western-made lever-action rifle as he embarks on a mission of revenge, but ends up becoming a hero for the people.
Gunman in Joseon was Lee Joon-gi’s next project after wrapping MBC’s Two Weeks, and he reunited with co-stars Nam Sang-mi and Choi Jae-sung, as three of them previously starred together in 2007 MBC drama Time Between Dog and Wolf.
Through this drama, Lee Joon-gi won Excellence Award, Actor in a Mid-length Drama and Best Couple Award along with Nam Sang-mi at the 2014 KBS Drama Awards, and he was nominated forthe Top Excellence Award, Actor on the same award show. He also won at the 10th Seoul International Drama Awards for Outstanding Korean Actor after starring in Gunman in Joseon.
The Scholar Who Walks the Night
The Scholar Who Walks the Night is a 2015 historical-fantasy television drama based on the manhwa with the same name. Starring Lee Joon-gi, Lee Yoo-bi, Shim Chang-min, Lee Soo-hyuk, and Kim So-eun, the drama was aired on MBC from July 8 to September 10, 2015, on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 21:55 KST, with a total of 20 episodes. Lee Joon-gi played as Kim Sung-yeol, a scholar who turned into a vengeful vampire following the death of his family and friend.
(SPOILER ALERT) Here are the plot synopsis and video trailer of The Scholar Who Walks the Night:
The drama is set during the Joseon Dynasty. Immaculately dressed in scholarly robes, the young nobleman Kim Sung-yeol (played by Lee Joon-gi) lives as a vampire to keep his promise to his friends. When Sung-yeol still was a human, he found out about the vampire Gwi (played by Lee Soo-hyuk), who sits above the King deciding the next royal line. Sung-yeol has resurrected as a vampire trying to fight against Gwi. Now, he is living as a guardian vampire, fighting against the evil vampire without losing his human nature.
The Scholar Who Walks the Night got public attention because of the appearances of Lee Joon-gi and Lee Soo-hyuk, who looked like real-life vampires. This drama also reunited Lee Joon-gi and Kim So-eun, who starred together in the 2006 film, Fly, Daddy, Fly.
Unfortunately, during the filming on June 10, 2015, Lee Joon-gi and Lee Yoo-bi had to be hospitalized, for a nasal fracture and herniated lumbar disc, respectively. Lee Joon-gi returned to filming on June 18, 2015, while Lee Yoo-bi returned a week later. At the 2015 MBC Drama Awards, Lee Joon-gi won the Top 10 Stars Award and he was nominated for Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Miniseries.
Unfortunately, the drama’s rating never hit more than 10% overall, as it competed with two other popular dramas, the KBS2 drama Assembly and the SBS drama Yong-pal.