Hallyu star Lee Byung Hun's domestic as well as overseas popularity is soaring.
When Lee's Hollywood debut movie 'GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra' opened on August 7, the STARmeter had indicated a huge rise in top-search ranking for any Korean actor at the well-known movie portal. From a ranking below 1000, Lee Byung Hun had moved up to the 20th place which further advances to 23 as the blockbuster movie dominated the world box-office standing second week in a row.
Reflecting this, the men fashion line Maestro and Lee Byung Hun had signed an exclusive modelling contract. The movie NomNomNom starring Lee Byung Hun will open in Japan on August 29 while his drama 'IRIS' will be broadcasted by KBS on October 14 after a really tough filming and hectic schedule throughout the year.
Q&A - G.I. Joe Star Byung-hun Lee Explains Storm Shadow's Martial Arts Style
Korean sensation Byung-hun Lee makes his American debut as the villainous Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. He talks to AMCtv.com about working with special effects for the first time and the possibilities for a Snake Eyes rematch in G.I. Joe 2.
Q: Had you heard of G.I. Joe before you were offered the role?
A: I didn't know about G.I. Joe -- in Asia they don't know about it. But I heard it's a really famous cartoon, and the character is so famous. It has huge fans. So I'm a big fan of G.I. Joe now.
Q: Was it strange to make your U.S. debut in such an American movie?
A: Yeah a little bit. [Laughs] But I was hesitant about this project not because of the story, but because of the genre. In Korea, scifi is an unfamiliar genre. I've been acting realistic characters and realistic films. So I'm not used to this. But then I realized how famous this cartoon is, and especially the characters. So I'm happy.
Q: So this was your first time working with huge special effects?
A: This is my first try. It was really amazing, because even when I'm filming I didn't know this would be like that. After I watched the premiere, I was a little surprised and shocked. I didn't know what I did.
Q: You're an expert in Taekwondo. Did you have to modify your style for the movie?
A: Yeah of course. Actually [Snake Eyes actor] Ray [Park] and me had a lot of time to practice and train. We had a lot of discussions about the the style of martial arts. Ray's style of martial arts is based on Chinese Kung Fu and Wushu, and mine is based on Korean Taekwondo. Those are very different. He has a little more flash and Taewondo is simple but strong. So the stunt guys wanted us to put those characters inside our choreography.
Q: How can two characters grow up with the same training and end up practicing two different styles of Kung Fu?
A: Even though they grew up and learned from the same master, they were separated when they were kids. Maybe they could have totally different situations and totally different environments. And in that process, they could have their own specialty, I think.
Q: The Storm Shadow/Snake Eyes rivalry is pretty famous. Can you think of any way it could continue into the next movie?
A: Uh, it's hard to answer. [Laughs]