npr.org
npr.org
Greta Lee: Rising Star Actress
User avatar
Curated by
cdteliot
6 min read
1 month ago
170
Greta Lee is an American actress known for her versatile roles in television and film, including standout performances in "Russian Doll" and "The Morning Show." Born in Los Angeles to Korean immigrant parents, Lee has built a reputation for playing charismatic and complex characters, culminating in her critically acclaimed lead role in the 2023 romantic drama "Past Lives."

 

Lee's Early Life and Education

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
Greta Lee was born on March 7, 1983, in Los Angeles, California, to Korean immigrant parents. She is the oldest of three children, growing up in a household that valued both Korean and American cultures. Lee's early exposure to diverse cultural experiences played a significant role in shaping her artistic sensibilities. During her high school years at Harvard-Westlake School, Lee developed a keen interest in the performing arts. This passion led her to pursue theater studies at Northwestern University, where she honed her acting skills and prepared for a career in the entertainment industry. After graduating, Lee moved to New York City to immerse herself in the vibrant theater scene, marking the beginning of her professional journey in acting.
fandango.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
imdb.com favicon
5 sources

 

Lee's Early Career Highlights

Greta Lee's career began in the theater, where she made her Broadway debut in 2007 in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee". She continued to build her stage credentials with roles in productions such as "La Bête" and "4000 Miles". These early experiences in theater helped her develop a strong foundation in acting, which she later translated to her work on screen. Lee's television debut came in 2006 with a guest appearance on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit". This was followed by a series of recurring roles in various TV shows. She appeared in "High Maintenance," a web series that later transitioned to HBO, where she played the character Heidi. Her role in "Nurse Jackie" as a nurse further showcased her versatility and ability to adapt to different genres. One of her more notable early TV roles was in Lena Dunham's "Girls," where she portrayed Soojin, an assistant to an artist, in a recurring capacity. This role allowed her to display her comedic talents and contributed to her growing reputation in the industry. These early roles laid the groundwork for her later success in both television and film.
fandango.com favicon
tv.apple.com favicon
themoviedb.org favicon
5 sources

Breakthrough Role: Past Lives

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
Greta Lee's breakthrough role came with the 2023 romantic drama Past Lives, directed by Celine Song. In this semi-autobiographical film, Lee portrays Nora Moon, a character inspired by Song's own experiences. The story follows Nora and her childhood friend Hae Sung, played by Teo Yoo, as they reconnect in New York City 24 years after being separated when Nora's family emigrated from South Korea to Canada. Lee's performance in Past Lives has been widely acclaimed, earning her nominations for prestigious awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. The film's narrative explores themes of destiny, love, and the complex emotions tied to past relationships. Nora's journey is marked by her ambition and the choices she makes, which resonate deeply with audiences. The film's poignant conclusion, where Nora and Hae Sung share a silent, emotional embrace before parting ways, highlights Lee's ability to convey profound emotions through subtle expressions and body language. This role has not only elevated Lee's career but also showcased her talent in leading roles, marking a significant shift from her previous supporting roles in television and film. Past Lives has been recognized as one of the top films of 2023 by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute, further cementing Lee's status as a rising star in Hollywood. Her portrayal of Nora Moon has been described as a career-defining performance, opening new opportunities and setting a high bar for her future projects.
newsweek.com favicon
deadline.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
5 sources

 

Greta Lee: Past Lives Interview

youtube.com
youtube.com
Watch

 

Greta Lee's Filmography

Greta Lee has an extensive filmography spanning television, film, and theater. Some highlights of her on-screen career include:
TV SeriesRoleYears
Russian DollMaxine2019-present
The Morning ShowStella Bak2021-present
GirlsSoojin2013-2014
New GirlKai2014-2015
High MaintenanceHeidi2012-2018
Wayward PinesRuby2015-2016
FilmsRoleYear
Past LivesNora Moon2023
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-VerseLyla (voice)2018
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-VerseLyla (voice)2023
SistersHae-Won2015
Money MonsterAmy Lee2016
St. VincentTeller #232014
Lee has also appeared in several stage productions, including Broadway shows like "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and "La Bête." Her diverse roles showcase her range as an actress across various genres and mediums.
en.wikipedia.org favicon
watch.plex.tv favicon
imdb.com favicon
5 sources

Awards and Honors

Greta Lee has received numerous awards and nominations throughout her career, particularly for her role in the 2023 film Past Lives. Below is a summary of her notable accolades:
YearAwardCategoryNominated WorkResult
2022Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Ensemble in a Drama SeriesThe Morning ShowNominated
2023Critics Choice Awards Celebration of Cinema & TelevisionActress Award for FilmPast LivesWon
2023Hollywood Critics Association Midseason AwardsBest ActressPast LivesWon
2023Golden Globe AwardsBest Actress in a Motion Picture - DramaPast LivesNominated
2023Independent Spirit AwardsBest Lead PerformancePast LivesNominated
2023Gotham AwardsOutstanding Lead PerformancePast LivesNominated
2023Satellite AwardsBest Actress – Motion Picture DramaPast LivesNominated
2023Santa Barbara International Film FestivalVirtuoso AwardPast LivesWon
2024Alliance of Women Film JournalistsBest ActressPast LivesNominated
2024Alliance of Women Film JournalistsBest Woman Breakthrough PerformancePast LivesNominated
Lee's performance in Past Lives has been particularly celebrated, earning her critical acclaim and multiple nominations, including a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.
en.wikipedia.org favicon
goldenglobes.com favicon
vogue.com favicon
5 sources

 

Greta Lee Photo Gallery

harpersbazaar.com
harpersbazaar.com
ynetnews.com
ynetnews.com
thecut.com
thecut.com

Recurring TV Roles: Girls and New Girl

Greta Lee has made notable appearances in several popular TV series, including recurring roles in Girls and New Girl. In Girls, she portrayed Soojin, a character who appears in multiple episodes, showcasing her comedic timing and versatility. In New Girl, Lee played Kai, the granddaughter of Tran, who becomes a love interest for Nick Miller. Her character was introduced during the Thanksgiving episode and appeared in at least three episodes, adding a fresh dynamic to the show's ensemble cast. These roles have contributed to Lee's growing reputation as a talented and adaptable actress in the television industry.
hollywoodreporter.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
5 sources

 

Lee's Family and Lifestyle

elle.com.au
elle.com.au
Greta Lee is married to Russ Armstrong, an actor and screenwriter known for his work on shows like 30 Rock and Master of None. The couple met while studying at Northwestern University and married in 2014. They have two sons, Apollo Joosung and Raphael Joobaek, born in 2016 and 2019, respectively. Lee and Armstrong prioritize a multicultural upbringing for their children, incorporating Korean cuisine and traditions into their daily lives. The family moved from New York City to a suburb of Los Angeles in 2020 to seek a quieter lifestyle, where they now raise chickens and grow their own produce. Lee has spoken about the importance of maintaining a balance between her career and family life, often attending couple's therapy with Armstrong for relationship maintenance.
harpersbazaar.com favicon
youtube.com favicon
elle.com favicon
5 sources

 

Lee's Recent News

Greta Lee has been making headlines recently for her impressive work and upcoming projects. Here are some of the latest updates:
  • In June 2023, it was announced that Lee would join the cast of Tron: Ares alongside Jared Leto.
  • Lee's performance in Past Lives (2023) has garnered critical acclaim, earning her several award nominations, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.
  • She continues to voice Lyla in the Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) sequel, following her role in the original Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
  • Lee remains a prominent figure in television, with ongoing roles in series like The Morning Show and Russian Doll.
  • Her recent accolades include winning the Hollywood Critics Association Midseason Film Award for Best Actress for her role in Past Lives.
imdb.com favicon
yahoo.com favicon
en.wikipedia.org favicon
5 sources

 

Final Thoughts

Greta Lee's journey from a scene-stealing character actress to a leading lady in Hollywood is a testament to her resilience and talent. Reflecting on her career, Lee acknowledges the complexities of her current success, especially as a 40-year-old woman and mother. Her breakout role in Past Lives has been both a personal and professional triumph, symbolizing a dream come true for her younger self who once saw such achievements as unattainable. Lee's experiences underscore the importance of representation, as she notes the radical and empowering impact of seeing an Asian woman prominently featured on the big screen. Her story is not just about personal success but also about paving the way for other Asian American women in the industry, challenging stereotypes, and embracing the multifaceted nature of her identity.
vanityfair.com favicon
theguardian.com favicon
imdb.com favicon
5 sources
Related
how did Greta Lee's Asian American identity influence her career choices
what was Greta Lee's most memorable experience on the set of "Past Lives"
how does Greta Lee's approach to fashion reflect her personal style
Keep Reading