Korean-American actor Ki Hong Lee first got everyone’s attention in the blockbuster franchise The Maze Runner as Minho in 2014. From there, he was cast in his breakout and slightly controversial role as Dong Nguyen in Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Now, Lee can be found in the upcoming horror movie Wish Upon, where he stars as Ryan, an off-beat skateboarder who helps crack the mystery of an ancient wish box.
The Koalition has an opportunity to interview Lee about the movie. He gave us advice about getting out of the friendzone (he is married after all), what convinced him to step into the horror genre, the power of our wishes, and what’s really going on with the final installment of the Maze Runner: Death Cure.
For the role of Ryan, Clare’s eccentric skateboarder of a friend (and classmate in their all-important Mandarin Chinese language class), director John R. Leonetti chose Ki Hong Lee, who also had some minor misgivings about embarking on a horror film. Lee admits, “I was really honest with John. I said, ‘Look, I really don’t go see that many scary movies, because I get scared all the time!’ But this one’s cool because I really like my character Ryan—he’s the guy who helps Clare figure out some of the mysteries behind the box. Luckily, John liked me enough to give me the role.”
Lee describes Ryan as “a typical high school student who loves skateboarding. He’s had a crush on Clare for a while, and it’s an exciting time, because he now has an ‘in’ with her—unbeknownst to him, she’s discovered this box and needs his help to translate the inscriptions. Soon, we become better friends who have to lean on one another.”
“Ki Hong Lee is amazing,” comments the director. “He’s the perfect person to be Clare’s friend, and really fits into the puzzle of the box. He’s an excellent actor, human being; truly a professional. His character gets to really speak about what’s important in life—he’s got a lot of integrity, just like Lee does. As an actor, he makes some interesting choices, and his character really becomes integral to this new world order as ‘arranged’ by the box.”
Wish Upon will release in theaters on July 14th.
Check out our interview below to learn more.