Lee Re goes from teasing Hyun Bin in 'Alhambra' to killing zombies in 'Peninsula'

A combination photo of Lee Re, starring in 'Memories Of The Alhambra' (left) and in 'Peninsula'.

If the teenager with the impressive driving skills in South Korean film Train To Busan: Peninsula seems familiar, well that's because she has been acting in films and TV series since she was six years old.

Only now, at 14 - with short hair and tough demeanour as Jooni in the zombie thriller Peninsula - the former child actress looks a lot more grown up.

Her most recent memorable role was in the 2018-2019 series Memories Of The Alhambra, headlined by Hyun Bin and Park Shin-hye. The then 12-year-old Lee Re played the spunky younger sister to Park's character in the popular show, and kind of stole the show from the two leads.

Lee Re also appeared as the younger version of Lee Sung-kyung's character in last year's movie Miss & Mrs Cop.

In Peninsula, Lee Re portrays a girl who grew up in the new world filled with nasty zombies and cruel militia. Thanks to this changed environment, Jooni has learned how to fend off zombies (she uses cars!) to ensure she and her family members - Min-jung (Lee Jung-hyun) and Yu-jin (Lee Ye-won) - stay alive for another day.

Jooni (Lee Re) has no choice but to learn how to drive a car in order to survive a zombie-filled surrounding. Photo: GSC MoviesJooni (Lee Re) has no choice but to learn how to drive a car in order to survive a zombie-filled surrounding. Photo: GSC Movies

In an interview transcript provided by GSC Movies, Peninsula director Yeon Sang-ho said this of Lee Re: “From my first meeting with Lee Re, I knew she would be a perfect fit with the character I was thinking of.

"Needless to say, I am satisfied with the end result. She looks really great in the film.

"She not only is able to carry out all the action sequences, but she’s also very talented in portraying the emotions as well."

Peninsula is set four years after the events in the film Train To Busan. In that 2016 film starring Gong Yoo, the zombie outbreak was shown on a train from Seoul to Busan. During that time, the entire Korean Peninsula has become a zombieland.

The actress herself described Jooni as someone capable and strong, as she ably takes out zombies with her car, and at the same time, a warm-hearted youngster who looks out for her family.

Lee Re (right) with fellow cast members, Lee Ye-won and Kwon Hae-hyo (centre).Lee Re (right) with fellow cast members, Lee Ye-won and Kwon Hae-hyo (centre).

In the transcript, Lee Re talked about the challenges of working on a zombie flick.

"When it comes to acting, a lot of it comes from your own experience. For this movie, there wasn’t much that I could draw from my own experience. So, I was concerned whether I could express everything the way that I wanted to.

"I would say from start to finish everything was quite difficult. However, thanks to my co-stars here (Gang Dong-won and Jung-hyun), we really had great energy on the set and so I’m very grateful to both of them."

Luckily, too, she got a great piece of advice from the director at the start of filming.

Lee Re shared: "As I knew exactly how I wanted to portray the character Jooni, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. However, director Yeon told me not to be too hard on myself and that really helped me to kind of do away with my own internal greed of wanting to do better.

"And I think, at the end of the day, that led to better acting, so I’m very grateful."

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