Lee Jung-jae on Changing Work Environment and Hollywood Offers After ‘Squid Game’ Success

A media distribution preview for “The Acolyte,”a Disney+ production, took place on June 5th at CGV Yongsan I’Park Mall in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Actor Lee Jung-jae was present at the event.

“Set at the end of the High Republic era of the Star Wars franchise, approximately 100 years prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), “The Acolyte”follows a renowned Jedi Master as he delves into a string of crimes that lead him to encounter a former Padawan and uncover malevolent forces at work.”

It is notable that Lee Jung-jae is the initial Korean actor to portray the character of Sol, a Jedi Master in the Star Wars franchise. Sol is highly regarded by many for his formidable force abilities and wise counsel.

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Despite its enduring global appeal, the Star Wars franchise has not gained a significant following in Korea. Some believe this is due to the perceived difficulty in becoming a fan, as there are high barriers of entry.

In response, Lee Jung-jae commented that while the “Star Wars”series typically requires viewers to have seen previous installments in order to understand the context, “The Acolyte”stands out as it tells a story of an earlier generation, making it accessible to those without prior knowledge. This detachment from the main storyline can be seen as a valuable asset, allowing for more creative freedom in acting and self-expression. Lee believes that even those new to the Star Wars universe can easily engage with and follow this series.

He stated, “My character Sol is expected to maintain importance in the future and could potentially be connected to upcoming narratives. While Star Wars may not have a large following in Korea compared to other nations, there are other television shows and films in the works after ‘The Acolyte’, so I urge you to anticipate them.”

After the worldwide success of Netflix’s “Squid Game”, Lee Jung-jae was questioned about any noticeable changes. He responded by saying, “I have received more project offers similar to ‘Star Wars’, but other than that, not much has changed. The main difference is that my working environment has broadened significantly, which is a significant change.”

Lee Jung-jae, a producer and director in the Hollywood production system, pointed out that while there may be nuances that differ between Hollywood and the Korean system, the two are largely comparable.

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“He remarked, “I had expected to gain a lot of knowledge from my time in Hollywood, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the advanced state of the Korean film industry. The main distinction can be seen in the utilization of technology, which varies based on the genre. For example, ‘Star Wars’ heavily relies on space-related technology, which is not commonly used in Korean films.”

Despite this, he highlighted the distinctiveness of Star Wars, noting, “Due to its longevity since the 1970s, the costumes and props have continuously been enhanced. It is evident that these props were not simply placed, but rather meticulously perfected. The staff shared the stories behind each item, showcasing the one-of-a-kind system that is exclusive to Star Wars.”

“The Acolyte”will be exclusively released on Disney+ starting with the first two episodes on June 5th, followed by a new episode every Wednesday. This will continue for a total of eight episodes.

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