Lee Jung-jae, the breakout star of Netflix’s smash-hit series Squid Game, will unveil his directorial debut Hunt, a Korean-language spy thriller set in the 1980s, at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The film will premiere out of competition in Cannes’ Midnight Screening section, a sidebar typically devoted to thrillers and genre fare. Most of the 2022 Cannes selection was unveiled in Paris Thursday morning. The festival, which will also feature new films from Park Chan-wook, David Cronenberg and George Miller, takes place May 17-28.
Hunt (aka Namsun) tells the story of two special agents in Korea’s National Intelligence Service who are independently tasked with the same mission: to find a North Korean mole within the agency. During the course of their investigations, the pair come face to face with an unbearable truth, but must complete their own missions at all costs.
Lee directed, co-wrote and co-starred in the feature, playing one of the agents, alongside fellow Korean leading man Jung Woo-sung (Steel Rain, Rein of Assassins).
Lee has been a sizable screen star in South Korea since the 1990s, but his career hit new global heights last year when Squid Game became a runaway phenomenon on Netflix and the streamer’s most-watched show of all time. For his starring performance as a dead-beat dad lured into playing a mysterious death game for cash, Lee won the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series. Squid Game‘s creator Hwang Dong-hyuk has inked a deal with Netflix for a second season, which will be completed by 2024 — with Lee returning in the lead.
Both Lee and Squid Game‘s breakout female lead, model-turned-actress Hoyeon (aka Jung Ho-yeon), signed on with CAA shortly after the show became a phenomenon. Hoyeon recently landed a lead role in Alfonso Cuarón’s upcoming Apple series Disclaimer, while Lee’s next screen role following Hunt will be in filmmaker Choi Dong-Hoon’s (The Thieves) corporate crime thriller Wiretap (tentative title), based on the 2009 Hong Kong film Overheard.