[K-Star’s Best Character] Lee Sang Yeob, an Actor who Can Get Emotions Across with His Eyes

Lee Sang Yeob drama

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated Cho EK

Lee Sang Yeob Knowing Bros
Credit: JTBC

Lee Sang Yeob was an ordinary college student studying business administration. He found and applied to an actor audition on a talent agency’s website that he went on for an assignment and took up acting as his career. Starting off with KBS’ A Happy Woman (2007), he played supporting roles in popular TV series such as SBS’ Midas (2011) and MBC’s Miss Ripley (2011). Then, he made a special appearance as a serial killer Kim Jin Woo in tvN’s Signal (2016), a work that put him on the map.

Lee Sang Yeob drama Listen to Love
Credit: JTBC

In 2016, he showed a great performance in JTBC’s Listen to Love which combined the two subjects of ‘adultery’ and ‘interactions on social media.’ The role he played, Ahn Joon Young is a producer of a broadcasting station who feels pity for his colleague who his wife cheated on. However, ironically, he is a free-spirited divorced man who enjoys his single life. In this work, he drew attention by showing a sweet, squabbling romance with a divorced screenwriter, Boa.

Furthermore, in KBS Once Again (2020), he played a character in a slightly more complicated situation dangling between divorce and getting back together. He received many favorable reviews for his chemistry with Lee Min Jung, who played his counterpart, and his acting ranging from romance to comedy.

Lee Sang Yeob drama Once Again
Credit: KBS

Lee uses his gaze to show the beginning and end of a relationship. In an interview marking the end of Once Again, he shared, “I tend to get emotions across with my eyes rather than facial expressions.” In the same year, Choi Kang Hee, who he worked with in SBS Good Casting (2020), once said there is real strength in his calf eyes. In the action-comedy, he played the caring CEO, Yoon Seok Ho, who reunited with his dear first love.

Lee Sang Yeob drama On the Verge of Insanity
Credit: MBC

Currently, he is playing the youngest development team leader at an electronics company, Han Se Kwon, in MBC’s On the Verge of Insanity. Han is the one who wrote the “history of selling 1 million dishwashers,” but he is a rather mean individual who flatters those in power while diminishing others. Still, he is not all evil in the show; the more you watch him, the more you will like him. Likewise, in this piece, his eyes and tears give full play to his abilities.

Lee Sang Yeob has been working as an actor for 15 years now. His deepened gaze enriches the texture of the work.


Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.

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