Up and Coming “Acting-Idols”


Idol stars are everywhere these days. From variety shows and dramas to even movie screens, idol stars are taking over the entire Korean entertainment industry with their combination of singing and acting skills. But this sudden plethora of idol stars with acting experience has made it that much more competitive for them to land an acting gig. Now it’s not just their good looks and popularity that give idol stars a new movie/drama role—they are being judged by the depth and quality of their acting. We’re seeing genuinely talented, real entertainers in them. We took a look at some of the most talented, up and coming idols with promising acting skills.

T-ara Ji Yeon and MBLAQ Lee Joon: “Jungle Fish 2”

In the film version of KBS drama “Jungle Fish (Season 2),” we get to see two leading idol actors, T-ara’s Ji Yeon and MBLAQ’s Lee Joon. Ji Yeon in particular shows off surprisingly impressive acting through her role as Seo Yool, who goes through emotional trauma after her best friend hangs herself to death. She suffers from greater trauma and self-accusation as she discovers the truth behind her best friend’s suicidal death, and Ji Yeon does a pretty amazing job in portraying her character’s complicated inner feelings. Ji Yeon has already played several roles as a high school student, filling up a solid acting resume. After starting her acting through MBC drama “Soul” in 2009, she left strong impressions through horror movie “Death Bell 2: Teacher Training” and KBS drama “Master of Study” in 2010. “Jungle Fish 2” is a movie-remake of last year’s TV drama, and will mark Ji Yeon’s second film appearance.

MBLAQ’s Lee Joon, however, debuted first as an actor. He played the younger version of Rain’s character Raizo in 2009 Hollywood flick “Ninja Assassin,” before debuting as MBLAQ. After playing the young Raizo, a cold-blooded, emotionless character, Lee Joon once again plays a rebellious teen character in “Jungle Fish 2.” His character has a scarred childhood due to a complicated family background, which leads to poor academic performance. He desperately seeks escape from reality and finds dancing to be his sole shelter. Lee Joon’s role in “Jungle Fish 2” isn’t that big. But anyone seeing the film will easily feel he’s the perfect match for this role. The role he plays in “Jungle Fish 2” fights adversity to realize his dream as a professional dancer, which in a way reminds me of Lee Joon who had similar hardships on his way to stardom. Lee Joon has already made his acting debut last year through MBC drama “Kim Gwang Ja’s Third Activity,” receiving favorable reviews from fans.

U-Kiss Dong Ho: “My Black Mini Dress

Dong Ho, who made a brief appearance in 2010 movie “Vliiain and Widow,” seems ready to officially kick start his acting career through his second film, “My Black Mini Dress.” Following an impressive performance in SBS drama “I am Legend” last year, Dong Ho will play the role of Yoo Seung Ho in this upcoming flick about theater college students’ daily lives, which is set for release on March 24th. He’s also scheduled to appear in former 2PM member Jay Park’s new film, “Happy Together,” as well as upcoming movie “Don’t Cry Mommy.” But before we rate Dong Ho’s acting on the movie screen, we’ll get a chance to see him on MBC drama “Royal Family.” Dong Ho takes on the role of Cho Byung Joon, a Harvard-graduate and 3rd generation heir to a giant conglomerate family (chaebol in Korea), giving us a glimpse into his diverse acting skills.

2PM Nickhun, f(x) Sulli, 2AM Seul Ong: “Welcome to the Show”

SBS “Welcome to the Show (tentative title),” set to air as a pilot program this March, is already garnering much attention as big time idols stars including 2PM’s Nickhun, f(x)’s Sulli, and 2AM’s Seul Ong will all take on major roles in the show. Seul Ong in particular is slowly building up a pretty solid actor’s resume. Making a surprise TV appearance on MBC “Personal Taste” featuring Lee Min Ho and Son Ye Jin, Seul Ong has also starred in MBC “Dosirak (Lunch Box)” as an innocent train station employee in the countryside, leaving many impressed with his potential for acting. He’s also appeared in music film “Acoustic” in 2010 along side teen stars Shin Se Kyung, Lee Jong Hyun, Kang Min Hyuk, and Bek Jin Hee, making a small yet meaningful step towards the movie industry. Through “Welcome to the Show,” a sitcom revolving around the behind the scene moments of music program “Inkigayo,” Seul Ong once again attempts to leave a strong mark as he gets involved in a love triangle with Sulli and Nickhun. 

(Original article written in Korean by @song; Translated by @eugenekim222)