As the title says, I am a reasonably big fan of the young actor, who has recently been thrust into the spotlight again with a role in the upcoming spy comedy, Covertly, Grandly. Add to that a lead role in K-pop Star season 2 winners Akdong Musicians’ latest single “I Love You” and an upcoming appearance on Running Man, and its safe to say the guy is not exactly been flying under the radar right now.

Despite his latest high profile pushes, in some ways success has eluded Lee Hyun-woo, compared to some of his same age counterparts, and especially his Covertly Grandly co-star Kim Soo-hyun. So what are some of the reasons for this?

20130521_seoulbeats_leehyunwooIt definitely cannot be looks. While this might be a subjective thing, and readers might disagree, I do not find anything very disagreeable about his looks. Besides, it could be argued that his “pretty boy” looks suit him very well for the roles he is currently playing. Even his character’s cover in Covertly, Grandly is as a flower boy high school student.

It also cannot be personality — so far, there are practically no real reports on any negative aspects of his character in any way. Besides, reading through a past interview of him when he came to Singapore does appear to show his character as a pleasant mix of the mature and sensible, as well as the fun and playful.

It also cannot have been management. Being affiliated with KeyEast Entertainment means that job opportunities cannot exactly be called lacking. Even though I am not the most avid of drama watchers, I have seen him in most of the shows I watched, from the saeguk epic Queen Seon-deok where he played the younger version of a lead character, to a disenchanted student in 2010’s God Of Study, to the other unrequited love interest in 2012’s To The Beautiful You, with a supporting role in 2011’s Equator Man between these two garnering him more interest and consolidating it. And that’s not forgetting his current stint on SBS‘ Inkigayo, as well as his various spots in different MVs. With exposure like that in the past two or so years, surely he could have gotten bigger?

And it’s definitely not him being a ham actor in any way. In all the projects I have seen him, I felt that he was able to breathe life into the roles that he had to work with, and I did feel for the characters he played. That is where the qualifiers start to come in, and it becomes a case of a good actor and nice guy being held back by what he has to work with.

20120917_seoulbeats_tothebeautifulyouWhile Queen Seon-deok made for rather entertaining watching, I have far more reservations about God Of Study and To The Beautiful You as far as the plots were concerned. In the case of God Of Study, it was a case of characters that were interesting, but were not fully fleshed out, and eventually the show fell into a pattern of clichés which got about as fun as the main subject matter of the drama – studying for an exam.

On the other hand, while To The Beautiful You made for entertaining light viewing, the whole plot seemed to hinge on the point of overloading the sweet, such that one would overlook the frankly nonsensical premise.

Hopefully, with this new movie casting, he would be better able to show his acting skills without being constrained by plot shortcomings for once. And like in the MV above, here’s to hoping he brings his pretty boy-next-door charms to a newer and broader scope of audiences.

Because let’s be honest, talent does not deserve to stay shrouded for long.

(YouTube [1], Loen Entertainment, Keyeast Entertainment, SBS TV, MSN-Mediacorp)