What It’s Really Like Being A Background Actor In South Korea, According To Filipino “Squid Game” Actor Christian Lagahit

There are pros and cons.

In an interview with Asian Boss, Filipino actor Christian Lagahit gave a sneak peek into what it’s like being a foreign actor in South Korea.

Christian Lagahit also known as Chris Chan | @chrisyan8/Instagram

Chris has starred in many notable K-Dramas and K-Movies, the biggest one being Netflix‘s Squid Game. The one that stood out to him the most was The Negotiation, a 2018 action crime thriller featuring a crisis negotiator and a hostage taker. It was the biggest role he was ever given.

The Negotiation which starred Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin was my biggest break in terms of Korean movies because that was the movie wherein I had my first ever lines. Would you imagine, I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of stuff before as a background actor but none of them would give me the opportunity to speak. But in this movie, I was given four or five lines, both in English and Filipino.

— Chris Lagahit

Chris in The Negotiation | @chrisyan8/Instagram

He finally had his big break in a Korean movie. The feeling of accomplishment was amplified after having experienced the other end of the spectrum of success. When he appeared in Crash Landing on You, he was again relegated to non-speaking roles.

As an artist, it would only sink into you when you have these kinds of opportunities. I mean, if you’ve only been there as a background actor doing nothing, just passing by, walking, drinking, dancing, sometimes it’s hard for you to label yourself as a center background actor, not even an artist. So when people ask me, ‘Hey, which part or scene in ‘Crash Landing On You’ did you appear in?’ I say, ‘Ah, even if I mentioned it to you guys, you won’t recognize me because they just filled my face with a lot of makeup’ I [couldn’t] even recognize my own [face]. So I was just basically there as a literal background actor.

— Chris Lagahit

He experienced the same thing while shooting Itaewon Class. Though he tried his luck at auditioning for a role in the show, he was told he needed to be more fluent. Background actors without speaking lines would not face this requirement, but they would also have much less or even non-existent screen time.

In Itaewon Class, the first two episodes, you’ll see a lot of foreigners there. I actually auditioned for a character but I didn’t make it because of my lack of proficiency in the Korean language so I ended up as a background actor.

— Chris Lagahit

Despite the hardships that arise from being a background actor, Chris still views his situation positively. He was thankful that he had the chance to be part of several unique productions. Since 2016, he’s starred in over 60 K-Dramas and approximately 30 K-Movies.

Nonetheless, you know, having those kinds of opportunities is still a blessing…because not everyone here in Korea would have those kinds of opportunities.

— Chris Lagahit

Chris with Son Ye Jin and Hyun Bin | @chrisyan8/Instagram


Learn more about his acting experience in the article below.

How Filipino Actor Christian Lagahit Began Acting In South Korea—And Starred In Almost 100 K-Dramas And K-Movies


Source: YouTube