Have you ever wondered how it could be possible for someone to make people swoon with just his gaze, fawn over his deep voice and eloquent speech, make them root for his character when he's a treacherous villain, and forever be classified as an enigma, even though he's really just a clumsy little ball of fluff in real life?
Well, that's Lee Soo Hyuk for you!
Born on May 31st, Year of the Dragon (1988), as Lee Hyuk Soo (slightly altered for his stage name), the man charmed people's socks off by establishing a name for himself in the fashion industry as a hot commodity right at the start of his modelling career, and hasn't looked back since; making his way into not only television but film as well while leaving the audiences clamoring for more of him.
It was, therefore, surprising — and disappointing — to see that this wonderful human being did not have a fan guide dedicated to him. Hence without hesitation, I jumped on to this opportunity (since he has only recently returned to Dramaland after his military service) to dedicate this guide to Lee Soo Hyuk, a man of many hidden charms and talents, who has made a name for himself as someone shrouded in mystery, but is really just the polar opposite of that, and a lovable human being.
So, without further ado,가자 (Let's Go)!
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Having made his career debut in 2006 as a model in designer Jung Wook Jun's 'Lone Costume' fashion show, he gradually acquired fame in the fashion industry, establishing a name for himself. However, it was his appearance in music videos for girl groups like Gavy NJ and 2NE1 that garnered him attention from mainstream audiences. He continued making appearances in music videos for 2NE1 and EXID, too.
The cute, lovable boyfriend
Gavy NJ - A Love Story
The hot, goth boyfriend
A psychiatrist (Kim Sang Kyung), seven students, and their teacher (Jung Suk Won) at the highly competitive Susin High School are forced to spend eight days in school, from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day as a result of anonymous letters sent to each person, saying that someone is very likely to die soon. Realizing that this was not just a harmless prank but an elaborate scheme to lure everyone into a trap, and that there is a murderer in their midst, panic strikes as the nine people try to survive against terrible odds.
Lee Soo Hyuk portrays the character of Yoon Soo, a rich, but emotionally disturbed boy who is also the leader of a rock band. This marks the beginning of Lee's penchant for portraying conflicted, forlorn, aloof and misunderstood characters, and honestly, they're all a delight to watch! (Or maybe that's me being a masochist. *laughs nervously* I sure hope not.)
GIF Credits: Lolapoplola (Pinterest)
This historical drama tells the story of a member of the Royal Guard (Jang Hyuk), who is investigating a case of scholars who were murdered in the Hall of the Worthies, with the help of King Sejong (Han Seok Kyu), who is on the quest for creating the Korean written language Hangul, and So Yi (Shin Se Kyung), a slave turned court lady who has a photographic memory.
Lee Soo Hyuk plays a supporting role as the character of Yoon Pyeong, an assassin who falls in love with So Yi when he takes her hostage. Once again, Lee charms everyone as a man of few words, excellent sword-fighting skills, and of course, intense gazes.
Does anyone else get Phantom of the Opera vibes or is it just me? I'm totally down for LSH as Erik (The Phantom)
A musical drama depicting the coming-of-age story of students at an art school, each of whom has their own set of struggles and accomplishments, as well as the need to find their place in life.
Lee Soo Hyuk is once again the brooding, enigmatic guy (Not that I'm complaining). Lee Soo Bin, a talented musician (mainly pianist and violinist) and composer, is famous throughout Haneul Arts University as the quiet A-lister who is rarely seen interacting with people. He's the subject of envious stares as well as adoration from his infatuated juniors. He later develops an interesting mentor-mentee relationship with Park Tae Yi (Kim Ji Won).
Han Yi Soo (Kim Nam Gil) is a man tormented by the past who returns to Korea after 12 years under the alias of Japanese businessman Yoshimura Jun in order to exact revenge upon the Gaya Family, who are responsible for the death of his father. In his opposition stands Jo Hae Woo (Son Ye Jin): Yi Soo's first love, a prosecutor investigating his disappearance, and the daughter of the Gaya family.
Lee Soo Hyuk portrays the character of the sheepishly adorable (yes, you read it right *gasps*) Kim Soo Hyun, an investigator at the prosecutors' office, and Hae Woo's subordinate. He has an especially interesting relationship with Yi Soo's younger sister Yi Hyun (Nam Bo Ra), who is an employee at the juice shop Soo Hyun frequents. They bicker, flirt, and are a total delight to watch on screen.
|It only takes a little while for him to go from this to that though...|
GIF Credits: kimnamgilstory (Tumblr)
The drama tells the story of Lee Min Seok (Seo In Guk), an 18-year-old high school student, who adopts the position of an executive at Comfo, an IT company while pretending to be his older brother (whom he bears a striking resemblance to). Simultaneously juggling hi-life as a teen and as an adult in a prestigious position, he needs all the help and guidance he can get. His saviour is Jung Soo Young (Lee Ha Na), a temp working for the same company as him, whom he later falls for.
Lee Soo Hyuk portrays the character of the second male lead Yoo Jin Woo, a director at Comfo, as well the illegitimate son of the company's director. He is the drama's bad boy with a heart of gold, a damaged man whose life knew no happiness or emotional attachment before he met the ever so clumsy and scatterbrained Jung Soo Young, whom he takes a liking to. He also has an excellent bromance with the ever so hyper-active Lee Min Seok. And did I mention how all his facial expressions are so meme-worthy?
See what I mean? Just look at those smug looks...
GIFs Source: WeHeartIt
A marine biologist and former high school professor Jang Hee Tae (Uhm Tae Woong), suspects that his much younger wife (and former student) Kim Il Ri (Lee Shi Young) is cheating on him, and thus Hee Tae finds himself getting angry for the first time in his life and begins elaborately spying on his wife's daily activities.
Lee Soo Hyuk is once again typecast as the devastatingly handsome, grouchy, brooding second male lead, who is actually a sweetheart underneath all those layers of coldness. He portrays the character of Kim Joon, a young carpenter who was abandoned after birth and raised by his grandfather, whose footsteps he now follows in. He hires Il Ri as a painter for his workshop, and despite a rocky start, they both have a mutual attraction towards each other. However, his feelings run much deeper, and he falls in love with Il RI despite knowing full well that she is married.
CLAIM TO FAME
1. The Scholar Who Walks the Night (2015)
Based on the webtoon of the same name and centered in an alternate Joseon dynasty, the drama tells the story of Jo Yang Seon (Lee Yoo Bi), a young woman who cross-dresses as a male bookseller in order to make ends meet. One day, she has an encounter with mysterious nobleman Kim Sung Yeol (Lee Joon Gi), who harbors a centuries-old secret, and is out to seek revenge against the one who caused him misery, and the loss of the love of his life, Lee Myung Hee (Kim So Eun). He also vows to protect others from suffering a similar fate.
It would not be a stretch to call this Lee Soo Hyuk's magnum opus (even though the drama itself is mediocre at best). He portrays the character of the immortal vampire king Gwi (Kim Sung Yeol's sworn enemy), and he is marvelous at it! He exudes the charisma, the menace, the evil that makes Gwi who he is: a true Machiavellian, so perfectly that you cannot help but find yourself dangerously drawn to him, which is the exact MO for him.
He entrances his prey in a similar way a snake charmer entrances a snake, but he's the one with the venom here. As soon as he's done playing his little game of cat and mouse, he swoops in for the kill, leaving nothing but destruction in his wake. It seems like he's past the point of no return, but then he surprises you by exposing his weakness, his pure, unadulterated love for a mere mortal, which makes him more vulnerable than the weakest. Then you pray against terrible odds for a redemption arc befitting this amazing character. Then the drama ends, leaving you wanting to see more of him, alas, you've been entranced forever!
Man still knows how to be a meme despite everything he has done!
GIFs Credits: soohyuk-syndrome (Tumblr)
2. Local Hero (2016)
In order to hide his past as a secret agent, Baek Shi Yoon (Park Shi Hoo) sets up shop in a small neighborhood by buying a bar named 'Neighborhood.' As a result, he finds himself involved in the lives of those who frequented the bar before his arrival.
In what is quite possibly his most unique role yet, Lee Soo Hyuk portrays the character of Choi Chan Gyu, a hardworking, quick-witted young man with excellent athletic abilities. He aspires to be a police officer and works odd jobs in order to make ends meet. His abilities do not escape the notice of both Shi Yoon and police officer Im Tae Ho (Jo Sung Ha), the latter of the two hiring him to monitor a few targets, while the former resorts to fully training him.
3. Sweet Stranger and Me (2016)
What would you do if one day you returned home after a bad breakup to find a man younger than you claiming to be the husband of your late mother? Hong Na Ri (Soo Ae), a stewardess in her late thirties, is faced with that very dilemma when Ko Nan Gil (Kim Young Kwang) insists on being the owner of her house and the dumpling shop her mother previously owned, both of which are located on a piece of land that is a hot commodity for developers and builders, waiting to swoop in and reap the benefits of the land.
Lee Soo Hyuk is back as the moody, rich guy, but this time he's a genius! Yay! He portrays the character of Kwon Deok Bong, an ambitious, eccentric, and incredibly intelligent (read cunning) company director with a law degree, which for some weird reason he refuses to put to good use (until ulterior motives present themselves), and instead is busy running a robot museum of his own, hence earning the nickname "Robot" by people in his vicinity. He is also one of the vultures who have their eyes set on Na Ri's land, and boy does he try to get it by any means, while unwillingly developing a little crush on Na Ri herself.
This drama also marks Lee Soo Hyuk's return as a living meme!
NOTABLE FILM ROLES
The Boy From Ipanema (2010) as the Boy
Runway Cop (2012) as Kim Seon Ho (A model)
Horror Stories II (2013) as Sung Kyun (Segment: The Cliff)
Note: Upon his recent release from the military, Lee Soo Hyuk has confirmed to star in the crime-action movie 'Pipeline' alongside Seo In Guk, which is slated for a 2020 release.
AS A MODEL
Lee Soo Hyuk is one of Korea's most in-demand models, having walked the runway for famous national brands such as Song Zio and General Idea. He has also done numerous cover shoots for renowned fashion magazines such as GQ, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle. He was named as one of 'The 13 Breakout Faces' during the Fall/Winter London and Paris Fashion Week in 2013.
For Cosmopolitan Korea (December 2012)
For 1st Look Vol. 69 (2014)
For Vogue (2014)
For Marie Claire Korea (December 2015)
For Elle (2015)
Source unknown, but he'd make a great Professor Snape, wouldn't he?
And there you have it! This was the long-overdue Ultra Fan Guide to Lee Soo Hyuk, a gorgeous, humble, and talented man who established a solid acting career just by playing the second male lead/supporting characters. Here's to hoping he continues to shine brighter than ever because he's a lovable human being who deserves all the happiness in the world. I'd be lying if I didn't admit to losing complete track of my thoughts while writing this article, just staring in awe at his pictures. Great! I'll stop now.