현우 한테: 늘 좋은 모습 보여줘서 고마워요 ^^ 정말 현우를 사랑하고 그 누구보다 열심히 응원할게요. 앞으로도 좋은 연기 많이 보여주고 대박나세요!! 언제나 건강하고 행복하길 바랍니다~♡
Before I start, I would like to dedicate this post to my dear Minhee unni, thank you for the inspiration haha >< 사랑합니다 언닝~♡
Epitome of perfection..?
After the whole 20-cut-to-16-episodes saga with global teen drama Moorim School, I somehow have this inexplicable urge to write about our male protagonist Lee Hyun Woo, who in my opinion is largely underrated and wholly undervalued. I will herein affectionately call him Hyunwoo, since he has a perpetual baby face that seemingly never ages and I’m sadly a noona (albeit only 1 year but still extremely saddened) :(
To make it brief, after the premiere of Moorim School and even more so after the 4-episodes cut, our Hyunwoo has been facing a relentless amount of negative criticisms. Of course, none of them was about his acting, which is undeniably exceptional for a boy his age, but rather it was about how terribly he chooses his projects, in particular dramas. While I do agree that Moorim School might not be the best drama around, it is definitely not the worst, and more than anything, we should appreciate the amount of hard work and effort put into making this drama.
An apt picture of Hyunwoo shielding himself from the rain of criticisms..
Argh are tattoos really a vice?
Hmm.. I don’t know what will become of this write up but I would really like fans to know that although it is inevitable that comparisons to his same-age colleagues will often be made, our Hyunwoo shines brightly in his own way. That said, I shall give a quick summary of his acting accreditations.
Our boy started off as a child actor at the mere age of 9 (or maybe 10, I’m not particularly sure). In his early years, he played child roles in a myriad of large-scale historical productions such as The Return of Iljimae, Queen Seonduk and Gyebaek. Through his teenage years, he further built his resume by supporting roles in a handful of dramas and films, with God of Study and To The Beautiful You being more popular productions. As he approached his 20s, Hyunwoo focused more on films, many of which boasted heavyweight casts and were critically acclaimed for their considerable success (more on that later).
I’ve watched Hyunwoo for a long time now and it never really occurred to me that compared to the rest of his same-age colleagues, he is somehow not as popular. As much as I hate to admit this, it is quite true that he never really peaked in terms of popularity. Don’t get me wrong, Hyunwoo is popular, quite so in fact, but the fact that he is currently not as popular as his 1993 counterparts and not surfing atop the Hallyu wave remains a mystery to me. Just to draw some comparisons, the other 1993 actors include Park Bo Gum (Reply 1988), Seo Kang Joon (Cheese in the Trap), Yoo Seung Ho (Missing You) and Jisoo (Angry Mom).
The strange thing is despite being in the industry wayyy longer than most of them (with Yoo Seung Ho being the exception), it conflicts me when I have to decide what drama or film to attach to his name. Even though Hyunwoo acted in popular dramas and had various successful movies under his belt, somehow there just isn’t one super defining moment that shouts Lee Hyun Woo. To put it simply, I always pause and hesitate as to which project I should put in brackets behind his name.
The thing about Hyunwoo is that he has always been there doing great things but there is just no one character that properly defined him as an actor. I attribute this to casts that boast either heavyweight or popular names. That said, he is inarguably an A-list actor and to me, possibly the best actor in his age group. As much as I love Park Bo Gum (!!!) and Seo Kang Joon like crazy, I’ve got to say that Hyunwoo wins hands down. In fact, he and Yoo Seung Ho pioneered the 1993-line actors, with both being crazy talented and far more experienced.
Alright I said I will talk more about his movies, so I shall do so now. Sorry, I know the layout of this write up is all over the place. I don’t really have the most organised mind and my write ups are mostly written spur-of-the-moment and very much alike word vomit LOL. Anyway.. In recent years, our Hyunwoo has been taking up roles in various well-received films. In the past couple of years, he filmed 3 really great ones - Secretly Greatly, The Technicians and Northern Limit Line. I’ve watched all 3 more times than I can count and oh my.. I don’t even know how to get started. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers~ ^^
Secretly Greatly (은밀하게 위대하게): Hyunwoo plays a young North Korean spy disguised as a high school student. The cast includes Kim Soo Hyun (You Who Came From the Stars) and Park Ki Woong (Bridal Mask), who are North Korean spies as well. This film broke various South Korean box office records.
The Technicians (기술자들): Hyunwoo plays an elite hacker who works with 2 others - Kim Woo Bin (The Heirs) and Go Chang Suk (Rough Cut) - to steal diamonds from a safe vault. His character is supposedly fond of betraying his teammates.
Northern Limit Line (연평해전): Hyunwoo plays a medical officer on board a patrol boat that is being deployed to the Northern Limit Line. Cast includes Kim Moo Yeol and Jin Goo, both of whom are household names in South Korea. This film is based on the real-life events of the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea. FYI, the Northern Limit Line is a line that cuts across the Yellow Sea, thus defining the boundaries of South Korea and North Korea.
Northern Limit Line poster. Please watch this, highly recommended.
Some may disagree but I’m of the firm belief that within his age group, Hyunwoo has quite strong footing in the film industry. He clearly has a knack for choosing films, but not so much luck when it comes to the small screen. To The Beautiful You had immense international success but was not as well-received domestically, whereas Moorim School (despite only being in its third week) has been dubbed a B-list show marked with slews of negative criticisms. Furthermore, although his films had met with substantial success, it is quite clear that Hyunwoo had been overshadowed by the other big names, thus depriving him of having more time in the limelight.
Looking at this photo.. I can pretty much say life is complete lol.
Despite my flittering fangirl heart, Hyunwoo will always be and remain special to me. Whatever role he takes on, he never fails to make his characters believable, and that’s the thing about Hyunwoo - you don’t see him acting as someone but you see him as the character himself. His facial expressions and body language make his characters so real and relatable, it’s hard to believe that it’s just acting. In fact, Hyunwoo is one of the rare few where viewers don’t refer to him by his real name but by his character’s name.
As much as I always have a preference for my favourite stars to have a manageable fan base size (à la now), I really want Hyunwoo to heighten his popularity and achieve the fame he rightly deserves. I’ve never seen such a versatile actor like him - so young yet so mature. With his unparalleled acting and vast experience, coupled with looks to die for, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he makes it to the top, and this noona fan here will forever be there to support him :)
To end off on a sweet note, here are some aww-worthy photos from Hyunwoo’s Korean fan sites!! Hmm.. I don’t particularly like posting fan photos simply cos I didn’t take them and hence they are not mine to share, but I think just for this time, not posting them would probably be a crime LOL. Contrary to popular belief, such high quality fan photos are not that easy to come by, and I’m super thankful to these Korean fan sites for making it so much more accessible than most others (ahem Park Bo Gum fan sites are.. ahem ridiculous -.-). So please do me a favour and properly credit these photos by not cropping the logos or editing them. Thank you and yes yes, I know you love me~
Hyunwoo plays soccer for FC Avengers~
In case you didn’t know, Hyunwoo hates doing cutesy stuff like giving out hearts.. This is SO RARE.
I found 2 heart photos. I’m the best. But the point here is the EYE SMILE.