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Don Lee and Jung Hoyeon Selected among Variety’s International Breakout Stars of 2021

Jan 03, 2022
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Korean Actors from ETERNALS and SQUID GAME Grab Global Attention



A pair of Korean actors have landed on the ‘International Breakout Stars of 2021’ list from influential Hollywood trade journal Variety. Veteran actor Don Lee (aka Ma Dongseok), fresh from his Hollywood debut Eternals, and Squid Game breakout Jung Hoyeon made the list of 11 names.


Active in Korean films since the mid-2000s, Don Lee appeared in dozen of notable works in supporting roles until his part in Yoon Jongbin’s Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time (2012) marked him out as a talent to watch. Rising from strength to strength, the burly star eventually drew international attention for his scene-stealing turn in Yeon Sangho’s international sensation Train to Busan (2016).


Lee made a confident move to leading man status in Kang Yunsun’s crime hit The Outlaws (2017), and he made the trip to Cannes as one of the leads of The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil in 2018, a film which has been optioned for a US remake by the production company run by Sylvester Stallone, with Lee rumored to be reprising his role as ‘The Gangster’. The actor recently made his Hollywood debut in the Disney-Marvel tentpole Eternals, in which he played the god Gilgamesh.


Model-turned-actress Jung Hoyeon made her screen debut in the Netflix sensation Squid Game from acclaimed film director Hwang Donghyuk. She played Kang Saebyeok (aka contestant #67) in the show and immediately drew the limelight for her memorable performance. 


Though she has yet to publicly sign on to any other projects, Jung’s number of Instagram followers swelled to 23.8 million in the wake of the success of the show, which was seen by a record 142 million subscribers during its first four weeks on Netflix. The new star recently signed with LA-based agency CAA (Creative Artists Agency), indicating a possible Hollywood move in her future.

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