Parasite actor Lee Sun-kyun dropped from drama No Way Out due to drug probe
SEOUL – South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun, who has recently come under police investigation for suspected drug use, is dropping out from his latest project, No Way Out, a mystery thriller TV series that began shooting in October.
The production company was said to have notified its actors and staff that shooting would be postponed for two weeks to reorganise the cast.
Following the police announcement last Friday concerning the investigation into Lee, staff of No Way Out changed the schedule to shoot other actors’ scenes first.
The production company reportedly decided to remove Lee from the project after police said they may seek a warrant to take a sample of the actor’s hair for drug testing.
Lee, 48, is suspected of having used unspecified illicit substances on several occasions and at several places in southern Seoul’s Gangnam. He was officially booked late on Monday evening for alleged illegal use of drugs.
The actor rose to international fame in South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film Parasite (2019). He recently starred in the horror mystery thriller Sleep (2023) and romance comedy Killing Romance (2023).
No Way Out revolves around serial killer Kim Gook-ho (Yoo Jae-myung), who is being hunted down by police officer Baek Jung-sik (Lee). It also stars Lee Kwang-soo and Kim Mu-yeol.
No Way Out garnered media attention after Taiwanese actor Greg Hsu, who was recently nominated for Best Leading Actor at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, chose the series for his South Korean TV drama debut. Hsu, 32, plays “Mr Smile”, a killer who goes to South Korea for an assignment.
In addition, two films which feature Lee Sun-kyun – Project Silence and Land Of Happiness – may see their releases delayed. The production firms said they will consider releasing the respective movies in 2024, and will monitor the situation as the police investigation continues.
Brands that have used Lee and his wife, actress Jeon Hye-jin, as ambassadors or in advertisements have quickly made adjustments.
SK Telecom and SK Broadband have removed the couple’s faces from their ads. Pharmaceutical brand CellMed revised its promotional phrase - “the one Lee Sun-kyun has chosen” - and changed the setting for advertisement footage uploaded on YouTube to private. - THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK