Lee Jung-jae, the star of hit Netflix series “Squid Game,” is to reprise his role as a manic killer in “Ray,” a TV series spun off from 2020 Korean action-horror film “Deliver Us From Evil.”
Korean media sources report that Lee will star in and co-produce the series through his own Artist Studio company and Hive Media, producer of “Deliver Us From Evil.” Variety has reached out for further details.
In the original movie, Hwang Jung-min played In-Nam, a former black ops agent who travels to Thailand to investigate an abduction. There he is pursued by Lee’s character Ray, a Korean-Japanese ruffian whose brother had been killed by In-Nam. Both heavily tattooed and charming, Ray embarks on a bloody rampage of revenge.
“Ray” is expected to develop the back-story of the seductively evil Ray, establishing how he became such a cruel killer and setting him up against other villains around the world.
The series is being written by Kim Bo-tong (“D.P.”) and is to be co-directed by Shin Woo-seok and Hong Won Chan, the original director of “Deliver Us From Evil.”
Ace cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo – whose credits include “Parasite,” “Broker,” “Burning,” “Snowpiercer” and “The Wailing” – will pick up the reins from “Deliver Us From Evil” and act as director of photography.
Pre-production is reported to begin in 2023. No streaming platform attachment has yet been announced.
“Deliver Us From Evil” was released in August 2020, during a break in Korea’s pandemic lockdown measures and scored an impressive $28.9 million from 4.36 million spectators.
Lee is currently riding high as director-producer and star of “Hunt,” a 1980s-set espionage drama that debuted in Cannes. The film received a mixed reaction in Cannes, with several foreign reviewers calling it confusing. Lee has since re-cut it for international audiences, with a new version set to play in Toronto.
Korean audiences have had no such problem with the intra-Korean complexities and have put the film on top of the theatrical box office for the past two weekends. Since release on Aug. 10, it has notched up gross revenues of $26 million from 3.35 million ticket sales.
Lee recently became the first Asian performer to win the best actor award in a streaming series, drama at the 2022 Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards. He is also attached to a second season of “Squid Game.”
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