Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Lee Byung-hun: Korea's leading man

Click to play
Talk Asia: Lee Byung-hun
  • South Korean actor is star of many acclaimed Korean films
  • Appeared in 2009 Hollywood film "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" alongside Sienna Miller
  • Has been star of South Korean soap operas and TV series for around 20 years

(CNN) -- With over 20 years as an actor, Lee Byung-hun has a gained a serious on-screen persona. But when the camera is off, the 39-year-old South Korean is more joker than brooding artist.

Sienna Miller, his co-star in the 2009 blockbuster "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" -- Lee's first foray into Hollywood -- described Lee as not only incredibly talented and handsome, but also incredibly funny and silly.

It's perhaps an unexpected accolade for the star of films like "Joint Security Area" and "The Good, the Bad, The Weird."

Yet he admits that while he takes his work seriously, in "real life" he likes nothing more than having fun and relaxing with a bottle of wine.

For a bit of respite from the fame and adulation he faces daily in South Korea, and for a bit of fun, Lee once became a taxi driver for a few days.

"No one recognized me. It was a weird experience," he told CNN.

After returning the taxi back to a friend and playing with being anonymous, Lee was back into his real life, starring in hugely popular South Korean TV series and making a name for himself in Hollywood.

"Even a few years ago no one thought it would happen. It was just a dream for Korean actors," he said.

With "G.I. Joe" sequels to come, he could soon be hiding from an even bigger army of fans.