South Korean star Lee Jae-wook, who first went viral after a photoshoot, is currently one of the most popular faces of the Hallyu wave. With his brilliant performance in the 2022 hit K-drama, Alchemy of Souls, the former model has successfully established himself as an acclaimed actor in the Korean entertainment industry. Here we take a look at some of the best Lee Jae-wook movies and TV shows that will keep you glued to your screens.
It was in 2018 that Lee began his acting career as a supporting character in the Hyun Bin-starrer tvN K-drama Memories of the Alhambra. His portrayal of hacker Marco Han impressed fans and eventually led to his recruitment by Hyun’s agency Vast Entertainment. Since then, Lee has been a hot topic among Korean fans. However, it was only after his viral photoshoot for the magazine The Masterpiece, alongside fellow labelmate Park Lee-hyun, that Lee gained global popularity.
Lee made his big screen debut in one of the best war movies in 2019, The Battle of Jangsari, co-starring veteran star Kim Myung-min. In October of the same year, he joined the ensemble cast of MBC’s Extraordinary You and ended up earning the Best New Actor award at the 2019 MBC Drama Awards. Such was the popularity of his role that Lee later made a guest appearance in the 2020 K-drama True Beauty alongside actor Kim Hye Yoon as their characters from Extraordinary You, Baek Kyung and Eun Dan-oh, respectively.
Another blockbuster starring Lee Jae-wook which gained global recognition is the 2023 crime thriller Kill Boksoon. One of the most watched Netflix movies, Kill Boksoon had its world premiere in the Berlinale Special section of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival on 18 February 2023.
Not to forget the upcoming drama Tangeum, starring Lee as the lead actor, is all set to release in 2024.
7 best Lee Jae-wook TV shows and movies to add to your K-drama watch list
Kill Boksoon (2023)
Directed by: Byun Sung-hyun
Other stars: Jeon Do-yeon, Sol Kyung-gu, Esom, Koo Kyo-hwan,
Synopsis: A single mother and a skilled contract killer, Boksoon (Jeon) was trained by the dangerous gangster businessman Cha Min-kyu (Sol/Lee) and is currently leading a dual life as a regular employee at M.K Enterprises. Soon, mysterious people start meddling with her family. Forced to let go of her work ethic, she either has to kill or be killed.
About the movie: One of the most popular Lee Jae-wook movies, Kill Boksoon topped Netflix’s Global Top 10 Movies (non-English) with 19.61 million views in just three days after its release on 31 March 2023 (via allkpop).
Alchemy of Souls (2022)
Directed by: Park Joon-hwa
Other stars: Jung So-min, Minhyun, Yu Jun-sang, Ko Yoon-jung
Synopsis: In the fictional country called Daeho, the young master of the Jang family, Jang Uk (Lee), holds a dark secret about his birth. Now he seeks a formidable assassin to help him with a mysterious task. During his search for the same, Uk comes across Naksu (Jo), a skilled assassin whose soul is trapped inside the weak body of Mu Deok (Jung) — Uk’s servant.
About the show: This Lee Jae-wook TV show was renewed for a second season which was telecasted on tvN from 10 December 2022 to 8 January 2023.
When the Weather Is Fine (2020)
Directed by: Han Ji-seung
Other cast: Park Min-young, Seo Kang-joon, Kim Hwan-hee
Synopsis: Sick and tired of her life in Seoul, former cello player Hae Won (Park) moves back to her hometown Bookhyun Village. There, she comes across Eun Seob (Seo), the owner of a small bookstore. As days go by, the duo grows close and eventually falls in love.
About the show: This Lee Jae-wook starrer is an adaptation of the 2020 romance novel When the Weather Is Fine, I’ll Go to See You by acclaimed South Korean writer Lee Do-woo.
Search: WWW (2019)
Directed by: Jung Ji-hyun and Kwon Young-il
Other stars: Jang Ki-yong, Lee Da-hee, Lim Soo-jung
Synopsis: Seol Ji-hwan (Jae-wook) is an actor struggling to make a name for himself in the Korean entertainment world. He comes across Cha Hyun (Da-hee) who claims to be his first fan and soon takes a liking for Hyun. However, with just one month left until Seol Ji Hwan’s enlistment, will the former be able to confess his love to Hyun?
Battle of Jangsari (2019)
Directed by: Kwak Kyung-taek and Kim Tae-hoon
Other stars: Kim Myung-min, Minho, Kim Sung-Cheol
Synopsis: Led by Captain Lee Myung-joon (Kim Myung-Min) a guerrilla army unit of 772 student soldiers, including Lee Gae-Tae (Lee), head to Jangsari onboard the ship Moonsanho. They are on a mission to deceive the North Koreans into thinking that opposition forces would launch a decisive invasion in Jangsari. However, the real battle takes place a day later in Incheon. Will these 17-year-old student soldiers succeed in the mission with just two weeks of training?
About the movie: One of the most popular Lee Jae-wook movies, Battle of Jangsari is based on the true story of the battle which took place from 14 to 15 September 1950 at Jangsari in Yeongdeok, South Korea.
Memories of the Alhambra (2018)
Directed by: Ahn Gil-Ho
Other stars: Hyun Bin, Park Shin-hye, Park Hoon
Synopsis: Yoo Jin-woo (Hyun-Bin), the CEO of an investment company, is looking for the creator of a rare augmented-reality game. He visits Granada, Spain, for the same and stays at an old hostel run by Jung Hee-joo (Park). Soon, secrets about Hee-joo get Jin-woo entangled in a strange affair with the latter.
About the show: Here, Lee plays a programmer and hacker who is related to Hee-joo’s (Park) secret. Additionally, Ahn received a Best Director nomination for this Lee Jae-wook starrer at the Baeksang Art Awards in 2018.
Extraordinary You (2019)
Directed by: Kim Sang-hyub and Kim Sang-woo
Other stars: Kim Hye-yoon, Ro Woon, Lee Na-eun
Synopsis: High school student Eun Dan-oh (Kim) studies at a prestigious academy and is deeply in love with her aloof fiance Baek Kyung (Lee). However, her life is turned upside down when she discovers that the world she lives in is a fantasy world of comics.
About the show: This Lee Jae-wook starrer romantic fantasy is based on the 2018 webtoon Eojjeoda Balgyeonhan 7wol by Moo Ryoo.
(Hero and featured image credit: @jxxvvxxk/Instagram)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– How popular is Lee Jae-wook?
Actor Lee Jae-wook is one of the most popular faces in the South Korean entertainment industry. Mostly known for his role in the K-drama Alchemy of Souls and its sequel Alchemy of Souls: Light and Shadow, Lee has to his credit multiple accolades. For his outstanding performance in the first season of the series, he won the Best Actor award at the Asia Artist Awards, the Asia Special award from the Asia Model Awards, and the Global Excellence award from the Korea Drama Awards, all in 2022. Additionally, Lee is a popular model and has been featured in many prominent fashion publications associated with high-end brands, including Chanel, Prada, Dior, Nike, Armani and Fendi.
– What is Lee Jae-wook going to do next?
According to multiple Korean media outlets, Lee will be next seen in a new historical drama Tangeum alongside actor Jo Bo-ah.
– Who is Lee Jae-wook’s best friend?
Lee has a special friendship with K-pop band SF9’s Rowoon and Canadian actor-singer Ahn Hyo Seop.