Let's talk about Lee Dong Wook! Ok, so let me briefly explain. Lee Dong Wook is a fairly new obsession of mine. Over my past 2 years of drama watching, I had heard of him, but pretty much steered clear of his dramas. There was really no good reason for this, except I wasn't really interested at the time and was busy obsessing over other actors. Well, finally, I decided to watch Scent of a Woman and I became curious about him. I was intrigued and decided to go on a two month Lee Dong Wook binge fest, happily analyzing his acting style and facial expressions and searching for what exactly about him I find so charming.
Right now, I still want more. Give me more! Luckily for me, and all the other Lee Dong Wook fans, his new drama Bubblegum will be starting October 26th so we don't have long to wait. In the meantime, let's take a closer look at this handsome actor and see what it is about him that is so endearing. For those that haven’t had much luck with his dramas, or aren’t familiar with him, perhaps one of the dramas listed below might suit your personal taste.
As I’ve worked my way through his various projects, here are some observations that I’ve made:
- He has a very expressive face (both subtle and full tilt)
- His smile is contagious, large and bright
- His comical timing is impeccable and he’s had some brilliant organic, ad lib moments
- He’s quick witted and very funny
- A man of charm with natural charisma
- His romantic chemistry on screen feels very natural
- He knows how to turn on the sensuality
- He makes some pretty adorable facial expressions
- His passion for acting is evident and he strives to continuously improve
- Expressive eyes (super intense in melodramas, can be sorrowful, sensual)
- Full luscious lips that he often uses to portray emotion (such as quivering lips in sadness)
- Very physically fit (those abs, I tell you)
- Deep voice
Lee Dong Wook does very well in Romantic Comedies. He’s quite comical and often makes these very innocent looking faces which I enjoy very much.
Character: Sol Kong-Chan
My Girl is a classic, and if you like Rom Coms, this is good place to start. Lee Dong Wook has some steep competition in this drama too with Lee Joon Gi as the male second lead, but he manages to hold his own. If you want something cute and funny, and can still tolerate the typical Kdrama clichés, this might be a good fit for you. I really liked watching Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae together and I can totally see why they chose to work together again (Hotel King). There are some very lovely, sweet moments in this drama as well.
Blade Man (Iron Man)
Character: Joo Hong Bin
Alright, sometimes you have to sort through a bit of a mess to find something good. This drama started out really funny and unique then took a sharp turn into melodrama land. BUT if you sift through the good and bad of Blade Man, there really are still quite a few gems. For one Wookie’s super angry CEO portrayal was magnificent. He's funny, he's crazy, a great interpretation of a quirky male lead. Overall I would say the drama was pretty good, although it almost felt like watching two separate dramas - one romantic comedy and one melodrama. Oh, and he has some cute and mischievous scenes. He’s just out there, over the top! But, in a good way.
Character: Park Moo Yeol
Although this drama really started to unravel midway in a similar fashion to Blade Man, we have a really fun dynamic between the two leads. There’s something endearing about a tomboyish type of romance. Basically, they are two dorks being "adorkable". Their bantering, teasing and bickering, is cute. They're like two kids.
Melodrama / Romance Dramas
Whether or not you appreciate Lee Dong Wook’s acting in melodramas, I don’t think it can be easily denied that he gets really into it. You know when his character is losing it, because he'll get really wide-eyed and he'll start yelling in your face! Lesson to the wise; don't get "Melodramatic Wookie" mad. Personally though, I do like him in melodramas because I can sense his intensity. His melodramatic acting also makes me want to stand up and start acting myself. He helps me get lost in the story and makes the acting look like so much fun. Melodramas are also a guilty pleasure of mine.
La Dolce Vita (A Bittersweet Life)
Character: Lee Joon Soo
The more I think about it, the more I feel that his role La Dolce Vita was one of his very best. His character is quite complex. On the surface he is deeply charming, attractive, caring, but he's also hot headed, obsessive, emotionally pained and haunted by his own inner demons. Lee Dong Wook made the character extremely likable, despite some questionable behaviour. He brought so much to the character which really needed that Lee Dong Wook charm to be well balanced. I can't even describe the connection he has with the female lead played by Oh Yeon Su. It's almost mystical. The drama is frustrating to the max, but also beautiful and moving, evoking a strong emotional response. Out of all the dramas I’ve watched, it’s one of the dramas that has affected me the most. It still lingers with me, and a large part of that is due to Lee Dong Wook’s and Oh Yeon Su’s chemistry and acting skills. Oh, and I must let you know… it’s pretty steamy for a Kdrama. In many ways it surpasses what a lot of us would consider the Kdrama boundaries (or I've just been watching the wrong Kdramas).
Character: Kang Ji Wook
As I mentioned before, this is the drama that opened my eyes to Lee Dong Wook. I avoided this drama for so long but it was really worth watching. The story felt very real and put into perspective how fragile life is and how anyone, at any time, can be thrown into a similar situation. What really struck me about Lee Dong Wook's character portrayal, was how he genuinely seemed attracted to the female lead. Often in Kdramas the male lead doesn't seem attracted to the female lead at first and has a terrible tendency of putting the female lead down. I felt with him, from very early on that he saw her as a woman. There are some strong sensual vibes between the two which is perfect if you are the hopeless romantic type like me.
Character: Cha Jae Wan
Oh... the Melodrama. This character harbors a very dark past and we can definitely sense that through Lee Dong Wook's portrayal. The nice thing is, his character isn't strictly one dimensional. We sense the pain and see the intense hurt, but we also feel his desire to be human and have a normal life. We get to see his inner struggle, but there are these super sweet moments. His connection with actress Lee Da Hae really helps bring balance to the drama. Their chemistry is super strong. It was good in My Girl, but it’s 10 times stronger in Hotel King. They both matured wonderfully as actors and show us what feels like a real relationship. Some of their moments together in the drama were so natural that it didn't appear like they were acting at all.
Character: Lee Tae Jo
Lee Dong Wook was really fun in Partner. It's a Law drama, but also has some Romantic Comedy and Melodrama vibes. I have to say it really exceeded my expectations. He seems like a bit of a goof / playboy at first but shows us great character development. Lee Dong Wook and Kim Hyun Joo played off of each other very well and were fun to watch interact. He also looked good as a lawyer and was believable.
Sageuk (Historical) Drama
Mandate of Heaven: The Fugitive of Joseon (Heaven's Order)
Character: Choi Won
At first I thought that perhaps Lee Dong Wook would seem awkward in a Sageuk. He doesn't exactly scream Historical Drama, but to my surprise and delight it suited him just fine. I thought perhaps he would only have a serious tone, but his character felt more fleshed out than I had expected. He was very soft spoken and caring. He also had a very strong bond and love for his daughter which was amazing and so cute. Seeing Lee Dong Wook as a father was great. He was utterly convincing. He had a father's heart.
TV Series / Reality TV
Roommate: Season 1 - 2
I love Reality TV. I'm as much of a Reality TV / Variety Show fan as I am a Kdrama / Movie watcher. Through two season's of Roommate we get to watch Lee Dong Wook living with a bunch of other celebrities. What I learned through Roommate is Lee Dong Wook is naturally quick witted and charming. He's very polite and also has a great sense of humor. I watched season one of Roommate in between episodes of Hotel King. The contrast between his demeanor in both is huge. The way he comes across in Roommate, is down to earth, polite, and just plain likable. It's really fantastic and he made me laugh and smile a lot.
Movies / Mini Series
He's done more dramas than movies but let's take a very quick glance for those that would rather not commit to a drama but would like a quick Wookie fix.
Heartbreak Library - The pace might be too slow for some, but I thought it was quite good, emotional and sweet.
The Recipe - He only appears towards the end of the movie, but he looks super handsome and his scenes were good. The movie felt a little disconnected, but it was still interesting.
Arang- It has a horror vibe but it’s primarily suspense. I liked Dong Wook's character a lot because it was quite different from his other roles. Variety is the spice of life.
The Perfect Couple - It's funny. I laughed a lot. It's a good weekend movie.
Kang Koo's Story - Since it's a mini series, it's not a very big time commitment. Lovely story; it really picks up towards the end.
(airing October 26th)
Character: Park Ri Hwan
The photos and teasers have been very cute. The drama looks really promising, and this is the second time Lee Dong Wook and Jung Ryeo Won will have acted together. They originally worked together in the sitcom Honest Living (Live Properly). I'm really excited about this drama. I've recently finished my Wookie binge watch and have run out of things to watch him in. This drama is coming at a perfect time for me.
So that concludes the Stalker's Guide to Lee Dong Wook. I hope you enjoyed it and I'd love to hear your thoughts.
If there is an actor or an actress that is worthy of a Stalker's Guide in your opinion, and you have watched enough dramas of his/hers to prove it, please contact KatelynJaynea about it.