25 may, 1980
Jae Hee (born Lee Hyun-kyun on May 25, 1980) is a South Korean actor. He is best known for his leading roles in the 2004 arthouse film 3-Iron and the 2005 television series Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang.
Jae Hee began his acting career as a child actor in the 1997 drama Mountain. He continued to appear on television, such as in the campus drama School 2 and the family sitcom Wuri's Family, as well as the 2000 horror film Bloody Beach.
In 2004, he was cast as the lead actor in Kim Ki-duk's 3-Iron, playing a silent young man who breaks into vacant houses and while living there for a few days, he cleans the house and repairs broken gadgets during his stay. The arthouse film won critical acclaim both locally and internationally. For his performance Jae Hee was named Best New Actor at the Blue Dragon Film Awards.
But Jae Hee's breakout role would come in 2005, when he played the playful but loyal Lee Mong-ryong in Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang, a modernized romantic comedy based on the well-known folktale Chunhyangjeon. It became a huge hit not only in Korea, but throughout Asia, making him and co-star Han Chae-young into Hallyu stars.
He followed that with action comedy film The Art of Fighting in 2006, in which he played a bullied high school kid who learns about martial arts and life from a wizened mentor (played by veteran actor Baek Yoon-sik).
Jae Hee returned to television, playing a chef in 2007's Witch Yoo Hee (in which he reunited with Choon-Hyang director Jeon Ki-sang), and a surrogate father in 2008's One Mom and Three Dads, but those series were less successful ratings-wise.
On August 5, 2008 he enlisted for mandatory military service. He was assigned to the Defense Media Agency until his discharge on June 18, 2010.
For his first post-army project, Jae Hee was initially cast in Hooray for Love, but had to drop out after he sustained a back injury during windsurfing practice for the role. Instead, he starred as the chaebol heir of a cosmetics firm in cable romantic comedy Color of Woman, which aired on Channel A in 2011.
Jae Hee played the antagonist in May Queen, a 2012 generational epic set against the backdrop of the shipbuilding industry in Ulsan during Korea's modernization. He received an Excellence Award from the MBC Drama Awards.
In 2013, he joined period drama Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love, a revisionist take on the titular Jang, more infamously known as the royal concubine Jang Hui-bin. Initially cast as Jang Ok-jung's first love, his screen time was drastically reduced. Later that year, his Chinese film A Sentimental Story received a theater release three years after Jae Hee shot it in 2010