King and Clown Star Works Hard for Little Pay


It's a fine example of the kind of windfalls shrewd business can bring. For his appearance in "Fly Daddy" (Dir. Choi Jong-tae, Prod. Dyne Film-Guardtec, Inc.), it was been learned that actor Lee Jun-ki reportedly received a sum that barely even totaled W100 million(US$1=W952) . As the hottest star in the first half of 2006, Lee has picked up a full legion of high school fans, and is now Chungmuro's hottest blue chip. The actor's popularity reached such a point that there was even a rumor going around that some production companies had simply presented Lee with a blank check. With piles of scripts pouring in, there are plenty of industry firms that will fork over top dollar. However, the appearance deal was inked was early last December: right before Lee's explosive rise to the top with the "King And The Clown."

Dyne Films largest shareholder Kim Hyung-joon of Guardtec said, "There were great concerns at the time of Lee Jun-ki's casting, as he was a relatively unknown actor then," adding, "But over various meetings, his odd charms that seem to incite the paternal love in all is what pulled us along to take the big risk." After seeing a preview of the "King And The Clown," Kim predicted the explosion of popularity the actor would soon see, and put his seal on the contract the same day. Lee's casting was a fine example of selling the rice before the harvest, but it turned out to be a winning bet.

The actor, who has always attached great importance to loyalty, moved the producers with the way that he threw himself into every scene, despite the lower-than-market paycheck he received for the work. And riding the wave of the actor's newfound mega stardom "Fly Daddy," originally a Japanese film, has already been exported to Japan before the opening of the film here, and ahead of the film's August 3 domestic release fans getting hyped up. About 200 fans and members of the foreign and domestic press crowded into the preview at Seoul Cinema in the Jongno district, along with waves of fans who just turned out to catch a glimpse of the actor's face.

englishnews@chosun.com / 7 27, 2006 19:32 KST