BY Joan MacDonald | Mar 29, 2013 04:18 PM EDT
Lee Byung Hun is well known in Korea for his drama and film roles, especially his performance as the secret agent Kim Hyun Jun in the espionage thriller "IRIS."
In America, however, he is best known for his action role as the Cobra terrorist Storm Shadow. He played the character in the film, "G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra" starring Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller. While the film got mixed reviews, critics agreed that his performance was notable. So it was no surprise that he returned to play Storm Shadow again in "G.I. Joe Retaliation," with Dwayne Johnson. The film recently premiered in Seoul.
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In a recent interview by the Huffington Post, Lee said he was excited when he found out they were doing the sequel. Although he played the role in the previous movie, he confessed he had not expected a sequel to be made.
When asked to play the role originally, he had to do some homework. He was not familiar with the cartoon G.I. Joe as it was not shown in Korea, but even though the film would be based on the cartoon, the director and producer told him not to watch it.
Instead they familiarized him with the back-story and told him to create a character. In the cartoon, Storm Shadow is the Cobra commander's bodyguard. Throughout the G.I. Joe series, he changes sides more than once, allying himself with Cobra, G.I. Joe and his blood brother Snake Eyes, played by Ray Park.
"I just learned the basic story about G.I. Joe and the characters of Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes and the history between them," said Lee in the interview. "I just got that basic type of information, and I tried to make it a creative character."
His role was fleshed out for the second movie and his character was given more emotions to express.
"I could express a lot of my emotions in part two," he told the Huffington Post.
The movie required three weeks of martial arts training and three months of weight training.
That training came in handy for the other movie he recently finished filming, in which he and Bruce Willis have several fights. He appeared as Han, an agent framed by Willis in the Red sequel, "Red 2."
For his work in the G.I. Joe movies, Lee was asked to imprint his hand and footprints in the cement before Grauman's Chinese Theater. He was one of only two Korean actors asked to do so. He told the Huffington Post that he hopes to continue to expand his career by playing varied roles.
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