The 26-year-old won the Best New Actor award at the 57th Baeksang Arts Awards for his role in 18 Again, and has recently just wrapped up romance K-drama Youth of May
Lee Do-hyun’s star power is about to skyrocket into the stratosphere. Hot off his role as monster fighter Eun-hyuk in critically acclaimed Netflix thriller Sweet Home and a memorable cameo as the younger version of the protagonist in Beyond Evil (which won Best Drama at this year’s Baeksang Awards), Lee is now the vaunted winner of the coveted Best New Actor award, a title that can only be claimed once in an acting career—for his role in 17 Again.
Other Best New Actor winners over the years have included Won Bin (2001), Lee Min-ho (2009) Ahn Hyo-seop (2020). To say that Lee is is a newly minted A-lister in good company would be an understatement. The 26-year-old's resume is short but impressive, and his run has only just begun. Read on for everything you need to know about Lee Do-hyun.
1. His short but memorable role in "Still 17"
While Lee made his acting debut in 2017's Prison Playbook, it's his supporting role in Still 17 as Ahn Hyo-seop's rowing classmate that caught the attention of many. Despite his short role, he was nominated "Character of the Year" at the 2018 SBS Drama Awards alongside Ahn and Jo Hyun-sik.
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2. He gave us second lead syndrome in "Hotel del Luna"
After his short role in Still 17, the world finally took notice of Lee Do-hyun in Hotel del Luna, where he played IU’s lover from her ancient past, a dashing but ill-fated royal guard captain. He didn’t have that many lines, but he did enough to stick around in our memory long after the series had ended and led many to have the ever heart-wrenching second lead syndrome.
Hotel del Luna is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television and it helped viewers see Lee as a potential leading man in his next projects.
3. He's a scene-stealer as Lee Eun-hyuk in "Sweet Home"
Yes, Song Kang’s face was the biggest on the poster, and he, too, was amazing in the hit monster thriller, but Lee Do-hyun was the unexpected scene-stealer in 2020’s Sweet Home.
Many found his calm medical-student character with the intense eyes rather attractive, as he coolly handled things while chaos ensued. Did we mention he beat Song Kang (another star who’s about to be catapulted into the big time) to the Best New Actor award?
4. He proved that he wasn’t just eye candy in "18 Again"
18 Again is the K-drama remake of the Hollywood movie 17 Again, which stars Zac Efron as a 37-year-old man who finds himself back in his 17-year-old body. In 18 Again, Lee Do-hyun is a 37-year-old man with a crumbling marriage, family and career, who gets another chance at life when he’s miraculously transported back into his 18-year-old body.
Lee was praised for his heartfelt performance, executed with gravitas, as a middle-aged man in a teen’s body. His performance also established him as a heartthrob, capturing the hearts of many with his heartfelt performance especially since it was his first lead role.
5. He’s flexed his acting skills as the romantic lead in "Youth of May"
The show premiered in May 2021 and sees Lee reunited with Go Min-si, who played his sister in Sweet Home. Initially, the pairing raised some eyebrows as the two went from playing siblings to lovers, though they showcased their undeniable chemistry in the series.
Youth of May is set in 1980, during the infamous Gwangju Uprising. Lee plays a medical student and Go is a nurse, and they get caught up in a passionate romance. The series was met with praise and the charismatic leads and retro-dreamy ’80s setting getting thumbs-ups. It also ended on solid viewership ratings despite its relatively short run.
6. He’s a truly dedicated actor
Lee truly is passionate about acting, and secretly attended acting school even though his parents were against him becoming an actor. He has gone to great lengths to get into a role—including breaking up with his girlfriend in order to experience the pain of a break-up—as he was playing a character who had just lost the girl he loves. Let’s hope he doesn’t take his method acting to crazy extremes.
7. He and IU remained good friends
The 28-year-old superstar sent Lee Do-hyun a food truck on the set of 18 Again (sending food trucks is how K-drama actors show their love and support for one another), and Lee sent one to IU on the set of her upcoming movie, Dream, which also stars Park Seo-joon. We can’t wait to watch that, as well as the great things to be expected next of Lee.
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8. He has a lot of casting offers
Lee Do-hyun and Kwak Dong-yeon from Vincenzo (who's also a rising star himself) are currently in talks to star in a new webtoon-based drama adapted as a Netflix original series called Hunting Dogs. After Youth of May and his Best New Actor award, it seems Lee is much in demand as his agency said that Hunting Dogs is just "one of the several projects he is considering".
The upcoming Netflix series is about three guys who became entangled with each other because of debt.