EXCLUSIVE: The eve of his potential historic night at the Emmys, Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae looks to have found his first major American studio role following that breakout in a property more popular then the Netflix global phenomenon.
Sources tell Deadline that Lee has landed the male lead in the new Disney+ Star Wars series The Acolyte from Lucasfilm. Amandla Steinberg is set for the other lead role, with Deadline also recently breaking the news that Jodie Turner-Smith also is joining cast. Leslye Headland tapped as the series director, writer, exec producer and showrunner. Headland has been very hands-on with Lucasfilm execs including President Kathleen Kennedy in putting together a diverse, A-list ensemble, and with Steinberg, Turner-Smith and now Lee, it looks to be headed in that direction.
Details about Lee’s character are being kept under wraps. Lucasfilm could not be reached for comment on the casting.
The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging Dark Side powers in the final days of the High Republic era, Disney+ said in announcing the project in December 2020. In the real universe of Star Wars, “acolyte” can refer to individuals with Force abilities who learn from a more experienced Sith Lord.
Landing Lee for The Acolyte is quite the victory for Lucasfilm and Headland, given that every studio and streamer was looking to get into business with the Squid Game breakout star. It’s been a year since the Netflix series premiered, smashing streaming records, scoring 14 Emmy noms and turning Lee and his castmates into household names. He and Jung Ho-yeon will be presenters at the Emmys next week.
Not only has the series turned Lee into an global star, he has been rewarded for it on several fronts, winning every major award since its premiere and has an opportunity to make history Monday at the Primetime Emmy Awards in the lead actor category.
After signing with CAA in February, Lee first wanted to put the finishing touches on his directorial debut Hunt, which he also stars in, before its Cannes Film Festival premiere. That film recently was acquired by Magnolia Pictures.
Besides CAA, he is also repped by Artist Company.
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