[CELEB] Actor Lee Jung-hyun is here for a long time, not a good time

Actor Lee Jung-hyun [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

For the tough, robust energy that exudes from her very tiny physique, actor Lee Jung-hyun’s fans call her The Little Giant.

It has only been four months since she gave birth to her baby girl, but the 42-year-old was fully present and eager to share details about her new thriller titled “Limit” with the rest of the world during an interview with local press on Friday.

“Since having my daughter, every morning feels like a gift,” Lee told the press at a cafe in Jongno District, central Seoul. “It was hard to leave the house this morning seeing my baby’s face, but I am also incredibly glad to be working again.”

“Limit” is about three mothers portrayed by Lee and actors Jin Seo-yeon and Moon Jeong-hee, who are involved in a case of kidnapping and child trafficking. Lee portrays the lead character of So-eun, a widowed police officer with a six-year-old son who gets assigned to a kidnapping case involving her son's classmate.

Lee Jung-hyun as her character So-eun in the new crime thriller ″Limit″ [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

“I filmed ‘Limit’ two years ago, before having my daughter, and now that I watch the film again, it makes me more devastated and that maternal instinct to protect my child kicks in, just like So-eun,” said Lee.

Though the three mothers have different purposes in the film, they are all driven by the common motive of maternal love.

While film noir is a popular genre among local theatergoers, it has largely been dominated by male actors. “Limit” is one of only a handful of local movies in the genre where females are presented as active, three-dimensional characters with enough narrative to move through an intricate crime thriller plot.

“The chemistry was incredible among the three of us to the extent that there were barely any outtakes,” said Lee as she described the atmosphere of an all-female cast on set. “It was my first time working with Jin Seo-yeon and Moon Jeong-hee but when we were on set, I felt as though I’ve already done like 10 movies with them.”

Moon Jung-hee in a scene from the new crime thriller ″Limit″ [JNC MEDIA GROUP]
Jin Seo-yeon in a scene from the new crime thriller ″Limit″ [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

Knowing that a film with three female leads could garner more scrutiny from the public, Lee said the actors paid extra attention to details in order to make sure they were portraying the core aspects of the genre.

“Especially in the action scenes, we agreed that we didn’t want to look like we were engaged in a cat fight,” said Lee. “So we all received training and meticulously planned out the action sequences.”

Lee added that the actors were keen on making sure they looked and acted realistically in every situation.

“We needed to look the part instead of being pretty," she said. "For me, I was a single mother working two jobs. I knew I couldn’t look pretty so I drew in freckles and moles and suggested that I wear very worn-out V-necks and slightly shabby clothes. Others, like Moon Jeong-hee came up with an eye-squint to make her characters more believable."

Lee Jung-hyun as her character So-eun in a scene from the new crime thriller ″Limit″ [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

As a working mom like her character So-eun, the thing that Lee feels the most at ease doing at the moment is work.

“It is incredibly hard taking care of a baby but one smile for her does it for me,” she said. “My husband also helps me a lot with the baby and supports me working, which I think is important to have when you are a working mom. I am very grateful.”

Though she has been in the entertainment industry for over 23 years now both as a singer and an actor, all Lee wants to be is someone who can work persistently for a long period of time.

“I think it is easier said than done, especially for a female actor in this industry,” said Lee, citing actor Youn Yuh-jung as one of only a few female actors who have remained working in the local entertainment industry throughout their lives. “My dream is to be able to do this job for a long time.”

“Limit” will premiere in local theaters on Aug. 31.

Actor Lee Jung-hyun [JNC MEDIA GROUP]

Lee Jung-hyun

Date of birth: Feb. 7, 1980
Zodiac sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yeongdeungpo District, western Seoul
Debut: April 1996 through the movie "A Petal"
Agency: Pine Tree Entertainment

Lee Jung-hyun debuted in 1996 as an actor in the film titled “A Petal.” She portrayed a 15-year-old girl during the Gwangju Uprising (1980). For her performance, she was awarded prizes at the 34th Grand Bell Awards, the 17th Blue Dragon Film Awards and the 16th Korean Association of Film Critics Awards. She is best known for her acting in the short film "Night Fishing" (2011) and the movies "Alice in Earnestland" (2015), "Juvenile Offender" (2012) and “The Admiral: Roaring Currents” (2014). Most recently, she starred in “Decision to Leave” (2022). Lee is a singer as well, best known for introducing the techno genre to the local music scene. Her first EP “Wa” (1999) topped the Korean music charts for three consecutive weeks. Her last music was an EP title "V," which was released in 2013.

This information was confirmed by Pine Tree Entertainment on Aug. 24, 2022.

Lee Jung-hyun singing ″Wa″ (1999) on a local music program [SCREEN CAPTURE]