Breathe if you want Lee Dong Wook. Yes that is what I thought. There are so many reasons to be a fan of Lee Dong Wook. He’s super handsome, he’s both hot and cute, he has a great sense of humor, he’s known for taking care of his co-stars, he’s a solid MC, and … he’s a great actor. And while it looks like he’s a rom-com staple, Lee Dong Wook has actually played in a number of different genres, from melo to rom-com, from fantasy to horror. He’s tried a little bit of everything and each time he’s completely immersed in the character to prove how much reach he has as an actor.
Here are eight K-dramas that showcase Lee Dong Wook’s talent and pick some of the more unique entries in his extensive filmography:
My Girl (2005)
Lee Dong Wook made his actor debut around 1999 and has played consistently ever since. While he won “Newcomer” awards in 2003 for his early works like “Land of the Wine”, he didn’t become a household name until 2005 when he hit the jackpot with “My Girl”.
“My Girl” is a bubbly, quirky rom-com that stole our hearts when it first aired. It’s about a grandson, Seol Gong Chan (Lee Dong Wook), fulfilling his grandfather’s dying wish to meet his long-lost granddaughter by recruiting a skilled con man (Lee Da Hae). But after meeting his “granddaughter” the grandfather is so excited that he miraculously recovers and insists that she move into the family home so the whole family can be together. Keyword shenanigans.
“My Girl” presented us not just one, but two palpitations, which still fascinate us today with their images and talents – Lee Dong Wook and Lee Joon Gi. We also fell in love with the chemical-rich pairing of Lee Dong Wook and Lee Da Hae, and so fans around the world rejoiced when they met for yet another drama almost a decade later.Hotel King. So if you want more of the Dong Wook-Da Hae pairing, be sure to read this love story between a hotel heiress and the general manager.
See “Hotel King” here:
See “My Girl” here:
La Dolce Vita (2008)
“La Dolce Vita” is a dark melodrama that deals with topics such as marriage and adultery and is involved in a crime thriller. When Hye Jin (Oh yeon su) discovers that her husband was having an affair, she flees to Japan to end it all. There she meets the seductive Lee Joon Soo (Lee Dong Wook), who is unknown to her. This Joon Soo also happens to be associated with her husband’s lover. This makes the relationships between these four people even more hopeless.
This is a beautifully written drama with noir styles and intricate details. It is sometimes so honest and raw that it can be uncomfortable to see because the viewer is confronting his own deep dark desires with it. Lee Dong Wook was one of the “greener” actors among a solid, seasoned cast, but he and his co-star “My Girl” Si Yeon Park, more than claimed and successfully lured us into their bittersweet life.
And let’s not forget the outstanding OST:
Take a look at “La Dolce Vita” here:
Scent of a woman (2011)
A gentle, lousy woman in her thirties, Lee Yeon Jae (Kim Sun Ah), has only six months to live after a cancer diagnosis. When she realizes that she has missed life, she makes a bucket list, quits her job, takes out her savings, beautifies herself, and takes her first trip overseas. During her stay in Japan, she meets Kang Ji Wook (Lee Dong Wook), a dashing man who, however, has little meaning in life. Encouraged by her new approach to life, she takes the first step on him and he is fascinated by her too. When the two return to Korea, Ji Wook continues to find ways to approach her. However, Ji Wook is unaware of Yeon Jae’s diagnosis and when he finds out he is surprised and angry.
While this is drama that is perfect when you need a good scream, how it deals with the more morbid subjects of death and mortality can also be very inspiring and uplifting. Hopefully it inspires you to live your days to the fullest and look forward to the days to come.
And when all else fails, there’s always this very, very hot tango scene:
See “Scent of a Woman” here:
Mandate of Heaven (2013)
While Lee Dong Wook has appeared in dramas that look back on bygone eras, “Mandate of Heaven” is his first real historical drama. Here Lee Dong Wook plays a royal doctor who is unintentionally involved in an assassination attempt on the Crown Prince.
As with most SageukenIt is full of political intrigue and exciting actions when Lee Dong Wook’s character Choi Won becomes a refugee on the run with the mission to clear his name while finding ways to heal his sick daughter. The royal nurse Hong Da In helps him and his daughter (Song Ji Hyo).
Check out “Mandate of Heaven” here:
“Goblin” probably doesn’t need any further explanation because if you were already a fan of Lee Dong Wook, you would have seen this for him. and if it weren’t for you, after seeing it you would become one. Regardless of how you feel about the main OTP, there is no denying that this epic fantasy drama is great overall and will get you on a roller coaster ride of emotions.
Lee Dong Wook’s Grim Reaper plays a huge role in why we love this drama so much, whether it’s his bromantic relationship too Gong YooGoblin or his star-crossed lover who mates with him Yoo In NaIs sunny. Even now we can’t help but have fond memories of how weirdly affectionate he can be one second and melancholy and serious the next. This is one of the greatest dramas in Lee Dong Wook’s filmography for a reason.
And if you couldn’t get enough of the Grim Reaper-Sun pairing and just wanted to see that they are happy together, then be sure to check out “Touch your heart, “A bubbly and carefree rom-com in a law firm, with Lee Dong Wook as the successful lawyer and Yoo In Na as the actress who poses as his secretary.
See “Touch Your Heart” here:
Watch “Goblin” here:
Do you need to see Lee Dong Wook in a doctor’s gown? Make sure to check out Life, which is much more than your average medical drama. Instead of just treating the patients of the week, “Life” focuses mainly on the management side and all of the (corrupt) office politics that go with it. It’s a constant battle between the conflicting interests of the large corporate conglomerates who own the hospital and the medical staff who have to get their jobs done. And the drama describes both sides of the story, allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions.
Lee Dong Wook plays the ambulance doctor Ye Jin Woo, whose department is set to be closed by the hospital’s newly appointed CEO Koo Seung Hyo (Cho Seung Woo). “Life” is brilliantly written and full of complex characters brought to life by similarly outstanding actors (excuse the pun).
Hell is other people (2019)
“Hell is Other People” is about an aspiring writer, Yoon Jung Woo (In the Siwan) moving into a residential building called Eden Studio. There is nothing “Eden” -like about the apartment, however, as Jung Woo notices that his neighbors are all differently strange. Among them is dashing dentist Seo Moon Jo (Lee Dong Wook), who is considered to be the most pleasant and friendliest of the group. But as Jung Woo slowly discovers the true nature of these neighbors, he questions his own sanity and morals.
The role Lee Dong Wook plays on Hell is Other People is that the furthest possible from his usual rom-com picture. This is where he can really expand his acting skills by immersing himself in a more antagonistic role for this horror slash thriller genre, and you may be wondering, like his smile – one that has passed you out too many times to get it to count – suddenly you can feel so intimidated and insecure. The drama really borrows from the horror of it all, not only showing some more graphic scenes, but also suggesting that people are the most terrifying of them all.
History of the nine tails (2020)
Lee Dong Wook dips his toes back into the fantasy genre and instead swaps his black hat and trench coat for tails. Nine tails to be precise. In “Tale of the Nine-Tailed”, Lee Dong Wook is a 1000 year old fox with nine tails who was once a mountain spirit who ruled Baekdudaegan. One day a young (mortal) girl appears before him and the two become unlikely friends. As the girl gets older, the two fall in love, but unfortunately their lives are shortened when a dark force comes into play. This nine-tailed fox named Yeon spends his days looking for the reincarnation of his first love.
This drama currently on the air is everything you could ask for in a fantasy genre – the cinematography is great, the plot is filled with interesting supernatural characters, and the acting is all top notch. Is there a more perfect choice for this? gumiho Role as Lee Dong Wook and his ethereal looks?
Check out “Tale of the Nine-Tailed” here:
What drama did you fall in love with with Lee Dong Wook? And which other drama of his is your favorite but is unfortunately not on the list? Tell us all about it in the comments below!