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Lee Jae Yoon On His Path To Stardom: “I’ve Never Wanted To Become An Actor.”

We gleaned a few things from the professional Korean heartthrob

Photos: Puma/Weekender

Keeping up with an obvious #fitspo like Korean actor Lee Jae Yoon in a run would’ve proved to be a herculean feat. But thankfully, we were comfortably seated for the one-on-one interview with the hunk, who was in town for Puma Night Run 2017.

Towering at 187m, the Korean actor has found recognition in television dramas such as My Love By My Side (2011) and Cruel City (2013), but it was his Mr Nice Guy role as Jung Jae-yi in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo that put him in the glare of the media spotlight.

“It truly feels like a dream and I hope I won’t wake up from it!” He exclaimed, flashing a set of pearly whites when he broke into a grin.

A good-looking, gentle giant with acting chops to boot, you can count on Lee Jae Yoon not losing stamina in the race to stardom.

Here’s what we found out after chatting with him.

How is like gaining recognition the realm of celebrity and entertainment? 

It feels amazing. Coming to Singapore, doing this run, representing puma and meeting the fans overseas…it feels like I’m living the dream. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to become famous. I wanted to represent my country and also Asia as a whole. It truly feels like a dream and I hope I won’t wake up from this dream. I’ve actually never wanted to become an actor instead, I wanted to become an athlete, or something related to sports.

Which role is your most satisfying performance in your career so far? 

Every character has their own story. My role in Weightlifting Fairy wasn’t my favourite, but it did so well overseas! I was really surprised people approached me and told me I was Jung Jae-yi. It’s a great drama. I love the way how fans show they love for Korean culture.

Who is your inspiration? 

One of my inspiration is Daniel Ley Lewis. He’s one of the greatest actors. He’s an acting machine. He’s so authentic.

We heard Bruce Lee is your idol as well. 

Before Daniel Ley Lewis, it’s Bruce Lee. Aside from his acting and martial arts, Bruce Lee’s way of life and philosophy have inspired me as a kid. I didn’t know anything about philosophy, I didn’t know anything about martial arts but he inspired me a lot to become a better person. If I’m having a bad time,  I will read his quotes like “Be like water, my friend.”. It sounds simple, but it means a lot to me.

Could you share more on your upcoming projects?

I’m looking at a drama right now, it will most probably launch at the end of the year. It’s not official yet, but I’ve met the director and he wants me to join the project. So I might start around October. It’s something different though, not the nicest guy (the role) but something different. It’s kind of a challenge.

How did running at Puma Night Run come about? 

They approached and told me this was happening so I agreed. I’ve done running marathons running in Korea, I’ve never done this overseas. It’s an amazing experience, I would love to do it again every year.

How do you feel running alongside with your fans? 

Malaysia was so much fun for me and I’m expecting a lot more in Singapore as well. And the fans have been bringing me gifts! One of the fans gave me a handmade t-shirt with Bruce Lee jutsu letterings. I was really moved.

What is your favourite sport?

Jjiu Jitsu. As a martial arts fan, I love jiu jitsu. The way I put on the gear and spa with my partners, the way we try to kill each other. It’s so good.

Any tipsto achieve your amazing six-pack?

Join Puma night run! (laughs) Find a hobby you might really like, you never know what you really like. I never knew I would like jiu jitsu! People might something out and they might fall in love with it. It might be skipping rope, swimming, table tennis, whatever it is that you might fall in love with something and stick to it.

Is this your first time in Singapore? What do you think about Singapore?

This is my third time. My first time I was here was for three hours. The second time was two months ago for UFC Singapore. My friend was fighting so I was here to cheer him on. I didn’t have that much time to look around, this is actually my first time meeting people and trying new things.

I was brought around Orchard Road and went to JUMBO seafood to try the chilli crab. I love Asian food, other than Korean food. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singaporean – they have the best food.