Lee Jong Suk isn't really a new face in the K-drama world. He's had plenty of iconic roles in several popular dramas and has been working in the South Korean entertainment industry from a very young age. Apart from his stellar acting skills—which, by the way, he thinks, are still lacking—there are a lot of things about him that might fascinate you. For example, did you know that Sukki, as he's fondly called by his fans, has a low alcohol tolerance and rarely even drinks even though he's an official endorser of Cass Beer in Korea? Oh, and he's also the panganay in his family. Jong Suk has a younger sister and a younger brother; they were raised by super strict parents. He can sing, dance, act, play the piano, and he even knows taekwondo. Plus, he has a degree in Science of Movie and Arts from Konkuk University!
Since Lee Jong Suk will be coming to Manila in November 2018, we thought it best to get to know this angelic face a little bit more.
The beginning of Lee Jong Suk's career
Lee Jong Suk first stole the attention of the public at the age of 15, when he became the youngest model to ever walk the runways at Seoul Fashion Week in 2005. He modeled for The Seoul Collective, one of the biggest events in the Korean fashion industry. Now, at age 28, he stands at 186cm (or 6"1') and has been praised for his small face, his V-shaped jawline (a Korean beauty standard, FYI), and his angelic facial features. Despite all this, he has been quoted in an interview with Korean magazine Ceci that he thought his face looked ordinary.
Before he appeared in K-dramas, Lee Jong Suk trained to become the rapper of a supposed idol group called "Red" but this pursuit only lasted for three months and the group never debuted. He then became a trainee at one of Seoul's big three entertainment companies, SM Entertainment and decided to focus on acting. When asked what made him shift his focus, Sukki mentioned that he was inspired by Rain after watching the hit romance K-drama Full House as a teenager. Little did he know that eight years later, he would be co-starring with his idol in a movie called R2B: Return to Base. Now, they're besties IRL! Their friendship was documented through Mnet’s reality show Rain Effect which aired in 2014.
Along with his movie with Rain in 2012, Jong Suk’s popularity rose steadily through the years by playing various supporting roles that surprised a lot of Korean audiences. He debuted in the SBS drama Prosecutor Princess and a horror movie called Ghost. In 2011, he played a gay composer named Sun in Secret Garden and despite the unusual role he's been given, he revealed that he was worried mostly about his singing skills as the role was supposed to be given to singer Jay Park. "At the time of my audition, I already knew that there would be a gay scene with 'Oska,'" he said, when asked whether he was pressured by the role. "Working as a model, you come across a lot of gay people in the industry, and I've been close with many of them since I was younger, so I'm used to it. I felt no pressure at all."
Lee Jong Suk's movies, dramas, and best roles
2013 was a crazy year for Lee Jong Suk, and it was only the beginning if his bright acting career. After starring in a sitcom called High Kick 3 with f(x) member Krystal Jung and Kim Ji Won, he followed up his TV appearance with School 2013. In case you don't know, KBS' "School" series is a well-loved anthology that first aired in 1999 and has become the training ground of many veteran Korean actors such as Ha Ji Won, Gong Yoo, Lee Dong Wook, and Jo In Sung. In the fifth franchise of the long-running anthology, Lee Jong Suk played Go Nam Soon, who became fast friends with the new transferee Park Heung Soo, played by Kim Woo Bin. Sidenote: It was totally School 2013 that turned these two from co-actors to BFFs. Last we heard, they were even spotted vacationing in Hawaii together!
His portrayal of a loyal sidekick garnered him the Best New Actor award from KBS Drama Awards in 2012, the first in one of many acting awards he's bound to receive from that point. He was next seen in the K-drama series I Can Hear Your Voice, where he played a man with telepathic abilities. Perhaps Lee Jong Suk's best drama to date is Pinocchio. His portrayal of a man with a troubled past and his amazing chemistry with onscreen partner Park Shin Hye led him to bagging five major acting awards including Best Actor (Korea Drama Awards, 2015), Most Popular Actor (PaekSang Arts Awards, 2015), Best Couple Award, Ten Star Award and SBS Special Award (SBS Drama Awards, 2014).
Apart from his humility and critical eye towards his own work, Lee Jong Suk fans have pinpointed his ability to choose roles wisely as the key to his success. From the get-go, Sukki has shown his passion for acting through roles that vary significantly from one another. He may have done several romance dramas, but his roles would always have nuances that allowed for better character development. In an interview with Vogue Taiwan in 2016, Lee Jong Suk was quoted saying: "I hope everyone can see how passionate I am about acting and the efforts being put into it. I also hope I am a multi-faceted actor who can breathe a new life into the roles I act in."
His most recent roles are a good indication of this unique trait. In 2016, he played a webtoon character who gets to blur the line between real life and comics in the action-packed MBC series W: Two Worlds. His latest drama is While You Were Sleeping, which he co-starred with Bae Suzy and Jung Hae In, had him portraying a prosecutor whose dreams somehow connect with two other people. In the past, he also played a genius North Korean doctor (Doctor Stranger), a psychopathic serial murderer (VIP), a national swimmer (No Breathing), and a high school playboy (Hot Young Bloods).
Lee Jong Suk: The Giving Angel
Apart from his nickname Sukki, fans also gave him the moniker "The Giving Angel" because of his gentle demeanor, warm personality, and kindheartedness. Several actors like Jung Hae In mentioned that he had gotten a lot of support and advice from Sukki while filming While You Were Sleeping. Korean media have also reported on his charity activities several times. The fans were so moved by this that for his birthday they would often organize charity projects on his behalf!
Lee Jong Suk also opened his own cafe in the district of Garuso-gil. Several IG posts even showed him cleaning up and working around his cafe, despite his celebrity status! Apparently, Sukki likes spending time with friends over a cup of coffee in various cafes around Seoul. When asked about it, he told High Cut Magazine that 89 Mansion was his pet project. "There are many times when I will go to the cafe as soon as I wake even if I don't have anything scheduled. It feels like a whole new world since I've almost never have been interested in anything other than acting," he explained. Want to know what it's like hanging out at 89M? I'll say this much: The food is amazing, and the baristas are cute. What more can you ask for?
Apart from his fan meet, Lee Jong Suk is also busy with his upcoming projects including a new drama that's set to air towards the end of 2018 called Hymn Of Death, where he pays a famous playwright tangled in a messy love affair. He was also recently offered a starring role in Romance Supplement and was rumored to star in Netflix Original See You Again with Kim Ji Won, although their agencies reported that both actors turned down the roles. Oh, and there are rumors of him enlisting in the military soon, too, but his agency clarified that he hasn't received news about his enlistment date yet.
I guess we'll find out more when he arrives in Manila in November 2018!
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