Lee Jun-ki (Lee Joon Gi) (born April 17, 1982, in Busan, South Korea) is a South Korean actor, model and singer, who Koreans regard as a quintessential kkonminam idol. He rose to fame as Gong-gil in The King and the Clown. In August 2009, Lee Jun Ki was appointed an ambassador for Korea tourism by the Korea Tourism Organization.
His first drama appearance was as a dissatisfied teenager in the KBS drama What should I do? He later appeared with a minor role in Star”s Echo, a drama by MBC and Fuji TV in 2004.
In 2005, his first major acting role came in The King and the Clown (왕의 남자), where he took on the role of a feminine-appearing entertainer forced to satisfy King Yeonsan”s sexual and emotional cravings taking place the late 15th century. The film became one of the highest grossing South Korean-made movies in South Korea, unexpectedly replacing Taegukgi as the most-watched film in Korean history with over 12.3 million viewers, despite the low amount Lee was paid of just over $100,000 for the role.
Lee was against the halving of screen quotas in South Korea that allows foreign films to be shown in theaters on certain days, while domestic films are alloted another amount of days. He believed that without the screen quotas, The King and the Clown would not have been as successful in competing against foreign films. He earned many Best Male New Comer awards for his role as Gong-gil in The King and the Clown in 2006.
His next role was as the supporting character on the Korean drama SBS”s My Girl together with Miss Korea, Park Si Yeon, Lee Da Hae, and Lee Dong Wook. His movie, Fly, Daddy, Fly which was released as well, garnered much attention and media coverage due to Lee”s overwhelming popularity
Lee’s popularity overseas is also noted, where in the 19th Tokyo International Film Festival, he was recognized as a top star. In China, Lee was the only Korean among 300 Asian stars invited to attend a Chinese television show which celebrated the Chinese New Year. During the Shanghai International Film Festival, Lee was approached by acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige, who proposed that the two should make a film together in China, which Lee thought was a great idea. “I”d love to make the movie if the script is good and the character is right,” Lee said.
Lee’s 2007 joint Korea-Japan film movie, Virgin Snow with Japanese actress Aoi Miyazaki, which he plays a Korean university student also garnered him much attention and Lee held his first meeting with his Japanese fans on March 10, 2007 in Osaka, Japan. The next day he talked about his acting career during a talk show that was recorded at the Swiss Hotel in Osaka later. Virgin Snow prove to be a success and was able to place 9th at the box office, setting a record for a Korean film released in Japan.
Lee”s action drama, Time Between Dog And Wolf is aired on MBC. It was his first drama ever as the lead role. Though ratings were low when it first started, the ratings gradually increase, getting second and third on some nights. Then in 2008 Lee Joongi played the role of a reporter in Hero and then in 2009 in Iljimae as Iljimae/Yong before he was mandatorily enlisted in the military.
Lee Joongi role in Arang and the Magistrate which is his first acting appearance since his military discharge as of February 16, 2012.