Information About Korean Actor Lee Dong-wook’s Career
37-year-old Korean actor Lee Dong-wook was born on November 6th, 1981 and began his acting career early in 1999 on an MBC single episode drama, then in 2005 he got his first leading role in the romantic comedy-drama My Girl, which became a big hit during that time, both domestically and across Asia, and turned him into a Korean Wave star actor.
In the time period between 2016 and 2017, he played in a fantasy romance drama that was written by Kim Eun-sook, titled Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin), alongside other famous cast members, such as Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun. The drama became a massive hit and significantly helped the successful resurgence of Lee Dong-wook’s acting career.
Lee Dong-wook as a Grim Reaper in ‘Goblin’
Lee Dong-wook’s Character Description
As one of the cast members of Goblin, he played the role of the Grim Reaper. His character is a good looking, cynical but humorous grim reaper. All grim reapers get this job as a punishment for committing the greatest sins in their past lives. Their job also includes guiding the souls to their reincarnation in the afterlife.
Like the other grim reapers, he doesn’t have any memories of his past life. He has a strong friendship with the Goblin (played by Gong Yoo), that he actually ordered to be killed in his past life, as a king of Goryeo, but has forgotten about it, and the Goblin is also unaware.
Lee Dong-wook Almost Not Cast as the Grim Reaper on Goblin?!
The writer of Goblin, Kim Eun-sook spent 5 years trying to cast Gong Yoo in her drama. The public was also aware of that, but on the other hand, it’s a completely different story for Lee Dong-wook. The fact is, that he had to fight and try hard to receive the role of the grim reaper.
Kim Eun-sook initially rejected him because Lee Dong-wook didn’t match and fit with the image of the grim reaper that the writer had in her mind. A representative of his agency even tried to persuade her, but it didn’t make her change her mind. However, the actor was too attracted by the role that he couldn’t simply give up.
The representative was finally able to get Lee Dong-wook and writer Kim Eun-sook to meet each other and discuss the role. By that time he was able to appeal to her during the meeting. Kim Eun-sook was eventually moved and offered him the role of the grim reaper.
After he received the role, he worked tirelessly to get ready by repeatedly analyzing and learning the script but also diving into his character. Because of all the effort he had put in, Lee Dong-wook was able to give the audience a new perspective and outlook of a grim reaper.
Netizens Reactions to His Portrayal of the Grim Reaper
Here are some netizens’ thoughts about Lee Dong-wook’s portrayal of the grim reaper:
[+10,316, -96] Kim Eun-sook wrote the character well but Lee Dong-wook brought the role to life…his stare is so natural ㅠ Also, I think the fact that Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-wook are close made a big contribution to their chemistry as the goblin and the grim reaper. If you watch behind the scenes videos, you can see that they’re comfortable and discuss things with each other since they are close. They both make and receive each other ad-libs which bring their characters to live.
- [+4759, -218] Lee Dong-wook picked a good project, his acting was surprisingly good and he also reminded us of how handsome he is.
- [+1157, -19] The writer drew up the character well too but I think Lee Dong-wook portrayed both the grim reaper and the king with such charm. There’s such a huge difference between him as the king and as the grim reaper. He is incredibly cute as the grim reaper and sexy and sorrowful.
- [+1012, -39] It was Kim Woo-bin’s role at first but I heard Lee Dong-wook chased after the writer all the way to the airplane because he wanted to play the role. So cool of him to be so passionate like that ㅠㅠ
- [+12,673, -159] Lee Dong-wook isn’t someone to only be a supporting actor, so I was wondering about that. But he knows how to be humble so I think he will receive a stroke of very good luck in the future.
Lee Dong-wook’s Iconic Fedora Hat in Goblin
As we all know, Lee Dong-wook, who played the grim reaper in Goblin, had an iconic sense of fashion, yup! And it’s nothing other than his fedora hat. But guess what – Dong-wook was strongly against wearing the fashion item of his signature look in the drama!
Lee Dong-wook and Goblin scrip writer Kim Eun-sook attended the “6th E Daily W Fiesta” in Seoul, on October 25th, where they shared various stories of behind the scenes of the drama. In here, Lee Dong-wook also revealed his distaste towards the fedora hat as one of his iconic looks. The actor explained, “Honestly, the fedora was an item that I was strongly against. I had to retouch my hair every time I wore it, and I don’t look good in fedoras. You might not think that way because you’re used to it now but it’s not like that.”
He then continued, “Same for the flashback scene in the past. I argued with the producer back and forth about my bangs.” However, Lee Dong-wook revealed, “I’ve received several offers for historical dramas afterward. One of them was the role of a king. But I’ve declined all for now.”
Lee Dong-wook Appearance as Doctor in ‘Life‘
Lee Dong-wook’s Character in the Drama
Life is a medical Korean drama that was aired from July 23rd to September 11th, 2018, on JTBC channel. The drama was written by Lee Soo-yeon, who had previously written Secret Forest, directed by Hong Jo-chan, who previously worked on a drama titled The Most Beautiful Goodbye. The cast of the drama includes Lee Dong-wook, Cho Seung-woo, Won Jin-ah, Lee Kyung-hyung, Yoo Jae-ming, Chun Ho-jin, Moon Seung-gun, Moon So-ri, Yeom Hye-ran, Tae In-ho, and many more.
Here is the official photo teaser that was released by JTBC. In the character poster Lee Dong-wook poses with his arms crossed wearing a serious expression on his face that conveys the cold aura surrounding him, right?
Lee Dong-wook’s character is named Ye Jin-woo and he is the lead physician of Sang Gook University Hospital’s emergency care center. Even though he appears to be shut off and doesn’t seem to care about what is going on, the comings and goings of the hospital, he actually has a very strong sense of a morally upright path, which doctors are supposed to take and do.
On his character, Lee Dong-wook has commented, “Ye Jin-woo is a character that goes through a lot of complicated inner changes. However, he doesn’t outwardly convey his emotions, thoughts, actions, and reasons. The more viewers will wonder, ‘What is Jin-woo thinking?’ and ‘What are Jin-woo’s reasons and end goal acting this way?’ the more I will be working hard to not make him seem like a flat character.”
He continued, “I will repay viewers just as much as they’ve waited for a good project and I’m doing my best while filming. Please look forward to it.” The drama Life was Lee Dong-wook’s comeback drama after a year from his role hit in Goblin.
For the drama production, they stated, “Lee Dong-wook has perfectly immersed himself into his character which now is Ye Jin-woo. He has interpreted the drama as well as his character in detail. Lee Dong-wook will show the true value of the drama and viewers will see new charms of the actor.”
Lee Dong-wook’s Drama Ratings for Life
Lee Dong-wook Had a Great Start
Started airing on July 23rd, 2018, for the first episode, Life already received a lot of love from fans. According to Nielsen Korea, the drama’s first episode recorded 4,334% in viewership ratings nationwide. This was a new record that was made for the premier drama on the cable network JTBC, breaking the previous record of a drama titled Man to Man with 4,1% for the first episode.
The ratings then continued for the second episode that had an increase of 0,6% compared to the previous ratings, at 4,971% on July 24th. Many viewers fell in love with the drama for the fresh plotline and the cast members who played their roles perfectly. With the promising ratings, netizens even claimed that Life will become Drama of the Year!
In the end, Netizens were Disappointed – Why?
Even thought the first episode of Life got a lot of support and high ratings, moving on to the sixth episode, sadly, the plotline was deemed boring by the viewers. Many of them admitted to being disappointed because they had very high expectations of Life. Not a few of the netizens openly criticized Lee Dong-wook. Here are some of their comments:
“I, myself, think that Lee Dong-wook was appearing too much, and this drama was boring.”
“Lee Dong-wook appeared so often but his acting ability was not that good, so the drama became boring. The character should have been played by an actor with better acting ability. I guess they cast the wrong person.”
“I stopped watching the drama on the third episode. I was really disappointed. The plot was boring and nothing interesting happened in this drama.”
“The drama would be more exciting if Cho Seung-woo appeared.”