Squid Gains
Newsweek US|July 12 - 19, 2024 (Double Issue)
Lee Jung-jae on moving from the cult Netflix hit to his first Englishspeaking role in Star Wars: The Acolyte
SOO KIM
Squid Gains

SQUID GAME STAR LEE JUNG-JAE FOUND HIMself tongue-tied-and tongue-tired-in the lead role for the new Disney+ series Star Wars: The Acolyte.

Speaking to Newsweek in June from Seoul, the capital of his native South Korea, the veteran actor spoke about the challenges of acting in English for the first time as Jedi Master Sol in his first Hollywood project, which even left him unable to eat at one point.

"Practicing the English lines all day all the time, my tongue kept touching the inner part of my teeth and became worn down, and I couldn't eat.

"Obviously, the way the tongue moves when speaking English is very different from the way it moves when speaking Korean, so my tongue kept rubbing up against my teeth," the Screen Actors Guild and Emmy awards winner and Golden Globe nominee recalled.

Acting in English was not an easy task but that was to be expected, the Squid Game actor said, "with so much to note, from the pronunciation and accent to getting used to the spaces between words when reading the lines, all of which was challenging.

"I had two dialogue coaches who were very rigorous with their teaching and played a huge role in helping me perfect my lines," he added.

Though established for decades as a movie star in South Korea, Lee shot to international fame following his breakout Squid Game role as Seong Gi-hun. He will be reprising the part in the highly anticipated second season-which he is currently shooting later this year.

His stardom in the Netflix hit show put him on the radar of The Acolyte creator Leslye Headland, who cast him as Sol.

The series, set at the end of the High Republic era before the events in the main Star Wars movies, unravels “an investigation into a shocking crime spree" that pits Sol against "a dangerous warrior from his past," who is played by The Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg, according to the show's Disney+ synopsis.

This story is from the July 12 - 19, 2024 (Double Issue) edition of Newsweek US.

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This story is from the July 12 - 19, 2024 (Double Issue) edition of Newsweek US.

Start your 7-day Magzter GOLD free trial to access thousands of curated premium stories, and 9,000+ magazines and newspapers.

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