Lee Ki Hong feels "blessed" to play a strong Asian character in Hollywood blockbuster franchise The Maze Runner.
The 28-year-old KoreanAmerican star adds that his role of the cool and supremely athletic Minho in the hit movie series is a sign of good things to come in Hollywood.
"I'm Korean-American, so for me, there is a big responsibility on my part to portray being Asian in a positive light and I'm really blessed and fortunate to play a strong Asian-American character here.
"I think Hollywood is changing slowly in terms of creating more opportunities for Asian-American actors.
"But we need not just actors - we need more Asian writers, producers and directors too, which hopefully will change the status of AsianAmericans in the industry," he says.
Lee was speaking to regional press at a media conference at Seoul InterContinental Coex in South Korea to promote Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the second film in a planned post-apocalyptic trilogy based on the best-selling young adult dystopian novels by James Dashner. The movie continues where the last film ended, when Minho and his friends have successfully broken out of the titular maze.
Attending the press event with Lee was his co-star, British actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who reprises his role as the snarky but kind Newt in the sequel.
To him, Lee is more than just "that cool Asian dude in The Maze Runner".
The 25-year-old says: "I've known Ki Hong for a couple of years now and he's a genuinely nice man. It's great how he's representing AsianAmericans in such a good way, but it's not just that. He's really just a great guy and a fantastic actor."
On Lee's newfound heart-throb status, Brodie-Sangster, who is known for playing the adorable drummer boy in Love Actually (2003), quips: "Where am I supposed to come into this? Maybe I'll make the list next year, after The Scorch Trials is out. We can be sexy buddies together."
Lee was also listed on People Magazine's line-up of the Sexiest Man Alive candidates last year.
He points out, however, that there is someone in his life who hardly finds him heart-throb material.
The actor, who married his longtime girlfriend Choi Ha Young in March, says: "My wife says it best - Minho is the one who is sexy and hot, but I'm not."
- Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee
- Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials opens in Singapore next Thursday.