Parasite star removed from K-drama amid drug use allegations

Daisy Phillipson
Lee Sun-kyun as Park Dong-ik in Parasite

Parasite star Lee Sun-kyun has been removed from a new K-drama amid drug use allegations in South Korea. 

Lee Sun-kyun played Park Dong-ik in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film, a masterful dark comedy-thriller about the impoverished Kim family who methodically insinuates themselves into the lives of the wealthy Park family.

Dong-ik is a successful CEO of a tech company who lives a life of privilege and comfort. Throughout the film, Dong-ik is depicted as being somewhat aloof, often disengaged from the lives of his family members, and he is played to perfection by Sun-kyun.

But the actor has now been hit with drug use allegations, leaving his future career uncertain. 

Parasite star removed from K-drama amid drug use allegations

Lee Sun-kyun has been dropped from the upcoming K-drama No Way Out after coming under police investigation for suspected drug use. 

The series itself, which started shooting this month, will be about the bounty hunt of a criminal who is just released from prison after serving 13 years, with Sun-kyun set to play a detective.

However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, production company Studio X+U released a statement in which it explained that it is looking to replace the actor. 

“Following an unfortunate incident last week with the actor Lee Sun-gyun, he expressed that it would take a considerable amount of time to sort out the current situation and that he will inevitably drop out,” it said, as per the THR. 

“The company reached an agreement with Lee’s agency and respects the actor’s position. Shooting will continue as scheduled, and there will be no further delay.” 

The news arrives after the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency launched an investigation into eight suspects, including Sun-kyun, after receiving a tip-off that they had been using drugs both at their homes and in clubs in the South Korean capital, Seoul. 

It said in a statement: “While investigating drug-related activities primarily within entertainment establishments in Gangnam, we obtained information that a celebrity is involved in drug use. 

“We are currently conducting an internal investigation involving eight individuals including L, a male actor in his 40s.”

Forbes reports that police have now requested a hair sample to check if he smoked marijuana, a serious offence in South Korea that could lead to up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won – about $37,250, as of October 2023.

Sun-kyun’s attorney didn’t confirm or deny his alleged drug use, instead saying that the actor “will cooperate with the police investigation in a faithful manner.”

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About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on