Recently, actor Lee Jeong Hyeon, known for playing villain roles in K-Dramas, shared what he believed was the most satisfying comment to hear as an actor.
On September 19, Lee Jeong Hyeon, who recently finished season 2 of the K-Drama New Recruit, talked about how he showed a new kind of acting that was different from the past through this show.
In New Recruit Season 2, Lee Jeong Hyeon played Kang Chan Seok, a sergeant who is the starting point for various incidents and accidents within the unit. His character persistently harassed his juniors, causing him to be transferred to another unit. In the new unit, Kang Chan Seok meets wicked, non-commissioned officers who harass him like he has harassed his juniors. He endures their bullying and surprises everyone with a change in his attitude and cruel ways.
Lee Jeong Hyeon stated that he believed his character was pretending to be good to survive but eventually turned good.
In the beginning, he pretended to be good just to survive. People don’t change so easily and suddenly. I wanted to gradually show how Kang Chan Seok, who initially pretended to be good, was integrated into the group and actually changed.
— Lee Jeong Hyeon
He further emphasized that he didn’t approach the role of Kang Chan Seok as an antagonist in New Recruit Season 2. Instead, he aimed to portray him as someone pretending to be an antagonist. He found it enjoyable to challenge this new role and learned a lot from it.
Lee Jeong Hyeon is known for playing many villainous roles in popular K-Dramas, but he appears to strategize how he acts for each part meticulously. He played the Japanese army sergeant Tsuda in Mr. Sunshine and the obsessed Kyeong Mo in Sweet Home.
He shared that he practices repeatedly, memorizing lines and scenes from different K-Dramas when he has free time. He also revealed that he tries to portray similar antagonist characters differently because he doesn’t want to have just one type of acting he is known for.
Although viewers may not know, I make an effort to portray even similar antagonist characters differently. Antagonistic roles are enjoyable, but I worry that if my image solidifies, I won’t be able to survive as an actor… Still, it seems that little by little, people are starting to see me in a different light. Kang Chan Seok in New Recruit Season 2 was different from previous antagonists, and in the drama The Forbidden Marriage, I even challenged comedic acting, playing a foolish character. I feel a little bit of hope that I can continue doing this job for a long time.
— Lee Jeong Hyeon
Lee Jeong Hyeon’s efforts in putting details to his villainous acting paid off because he shared he is often “cursed” by audiences for being successfully evil on screen. When asked what kind of comment makes him the happiest as an actor, Lee Jeong Byeong shared that he “wanted them to curse at him.”
Lee Jeong Hyeon debuted in the entertainment industry with a submission to a Japanese men’s wax Gatsby commercial contest in 2014, then gradually built his filmography by taking on supporting and minor roles in various works. After graduating from Yongin University’s Judo Department, he studied in Japan and learned Japanese before dreaming of becoming an actor. He appeared as Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the drama Imjin War 1592 (2016), as a patriotic group member in the movie Anarchist from Colony (2016), and many more.