'Parasite' Director Bong Joon-Ho Calls for Investigation Into Actor Lee Sun-Kyun's Death

A press conference with the director will take place in Seoul on Friday.

An alliance of South Korean arts and culture organizations, artists, and filmmakers, including director Bong Joon-ho, has called for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of actor Lee Sun-kyun. Lee, who starred in Bong's Oscar-winning Parasitedied last month at the age of 48 of an apparent suicide.

Authorities were investigating Lee for an alleged drug offense committed at the residence of a hostess at a high-end bar in Seoul's Gangnam district. Yonhap reported that Lee had been interviewed by police multiple times, as well as for 19 hours the weekend before his death.

According to the Korea Herald, a group whose members include 29 arts and culture organizations, including the Busan Film Festival, called The Association of Solidarity of Cultural Artists, appealed to authorities and the media this week in a statement to prevent similar deaths from happening again. 

As reported by the Korea Herald, the statement said, "In the face of the tragic death of actor Lee Sun-kyun, we shared the same heart that this should never happen again. We will call for investigation officials' probe to discover the truth, request media outlets to delete articles that do not fit their function as media, as well as urge authorities to revise the law to protect the human rights of artists."

During a press conference to be held in Seoul on Friday, leading figures such as Bong, Korean filmmaker Lee Won-tae, and the president of the Producers Guild of Korea, Choi Jeong-hwa, will be present.

Sun-kyun, who was married to actress Jeon Hye-jin, alleged a hostess had misled him about the substances given to him and blackmailed him afterward. In the wake of the investigation, he had lost work, including dropping out of the upcoming film No Way Out.

Two women, including a bar hostess, were referred last Friday to the prosecution by the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency for further investigation and potential indictment on charges that they blackmailed Lee for 350 million won ($266K), Yonhap reported.

Sun-kyun portrayed Park Dong-ik (or Nathan) in Parasite. A wealthy father, his life and home were soon invaded by the film's protagonists, the Kims. As a result of their performances, he and other Parasite cast members received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Sun-Kyun also appeared in Coffee PrinceMy MisterKingmakerSleepHelplessA Hard DayDiary of a ProsecutorAll About My Wife, and the Apple TV+ show Dr. Brain.