Walk the streets of Korea and you’re bound to hear an angelic voice serenading you. Listen carefully or don’t listen at all. It doesn’t matter because, before you know it, you’ll dance to the beat or hum along. You’ll feel uplifted and cheery… or your eyes will well up with emotional tears. You’ll be affected by that soulful voice and the message in her song. Where you are won’t make a difference. In a cafe. In your car. Out with friends. At home watching television. Or even eavesdropping on someone’s conversation as you pass by. You’ve suddenly changed. Just like that. Before you know it, she’s in you.
And that’s the amazing power of IU.
Since her music debut in 2008, tropical storm IU quickly grew to become a dangerous category 5 hurricane, sweeping in countless music awards, achieving all-kills and perfect all-kills, and forever changing the music industry in Korea as we knew it.
But if you think that’s the limit to IU’s abilities, then you’re in for a grand surprise. She also has plenty of songwriting, composing, instrument playing, emceeing, radio hosting, VJing, trend setting, and endorsement hoarding experience under her belt. With her recent strings of acting projects; however, IU has officially become more than just a popular K-pop idol. She’s become… an all-around entertainer.
And IU is certainly living up to that new title by refusing to be a cookie cutter actress. Although her projects are still limited thus far, her roles have been rather diverse and her acting, nothing short of impressive. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Dream High’s Kim Pil Suk
In her 2011 acting debut, IU portrayed Kim Pil Suk, an overweight girl with big dreams in “Dream High.” Gentle, kind, and often shy, she struggles with ridicule from her classmates and pity from her teachers for her appearance even though she secretly loves herself just the way she is.
Prematurely deemed a failure and cast aside, she, surprisingly, finds a lasting friendship amongst an unlikely group of vastly different individuals, including a boy who, unintentionally, motivates her to lose weight so she could claim the spotlight.
Cute, heartwarming, and a definite show stealer, Kim Pil Suk and her inspiring message of loving yourself, flaws and all, is one of the best reasons to watch “Dream High.” The other reason is, of course, the amazing K-pop OST!
And if you’re wondering if she ever gets the boy, cutely portrayed by Jang Wooyoung, by the way, or if she ever achieves her dream, you’ll just have to find out for yourself!
You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin’s Lee Soon Shin
Boldly tackling her first leading role in a 50 episode family drama, IU transforms herself into Lee Soon Shin, a struggling college graduate, in “You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin!” She strives to find a steady job, a love in her long term one-sided crush, and a source of light from behind her older sisters’ shadows.
As if that wasn’t already stressful enough, she gets swindled big time by a man pretending to be an entertainment company’s CEO. Luckily for our hot-tempered, opinionated heroine, she crosses paths with the real CEO and her life begins to change.
Certainly my favorite role of IU’s to date, she flawlessly showcases a variety of emotions and sizzles with her leading man, Jo Jung Suk, to bring us a warm, heart fluttering, smiling like a goofball romance. If humor, life lessons, family secrets, striving for success, and downright touching moments are for you, then “You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin!” is well worth the watch.
It was with this role that IU further solidified her new status as an actress and thoroughly impressed both her co-workers and audience with her natural talent. If ratings of nearly 40% isn’t proof of that, then I don’t know what is! (Oh, maybe a Best New Actress and Best Couple award in the 2013 KBS Awards?)
Bel Ami’s Kim Bo Tong
Immediately following the success of her previous drama, IU scores her second leading role in “Bel Ami,” as Kim Bo Tong. Quirky, fashionably creative, and even slightly perverted, Kim Bo Tong is anything but average, unlike the implications in her name. She’s hopelessly in love with a man, portrayed by Jang Geun Suk, and sets her life goal on… yes, becoming his wife.
Rather lacking in the romance department though, “Bel Ami” focuses more on portraying the fact that hard work, dedication, and honing skills are necessary to walk the path of success. And to sell off an endless supply of… socks…
Although I wouldn’t recommend this drama, mostly due to the overbearing and narcissistic personality of the male lead, it’s a great choice for observing IU’s versatility and enjoying her performance of a unique female protagonist. Kim Bo Tong manages to be loveable and touching, which is one of the very few highlights of “Bel Ami.”
You Can Also Find IU In
“Dream High 2” with a cameo of her Kim Pil Suk character. Although that’s the end, for now, of IU’s acting projects, you can certainly find her voice cameos in plenty of other dramas. Her songs are frequently used as background music, part of the OST, or referenced in dialogue, such as in “Fated to Love You,” “Surplus Princess,” “Discovery of Romance,” “Master’s Sun,” “The Greatest Love,” “Road Number One,” “The Great Queen Seondeok,” and more. Can you determine which songs are hers by sound alone?
Which of IU’s dramas were you a fan of? Which ones will you be watching? Let me know in the comments below! I don’t know about you, Soompiers, but I’m really anticipating IU’s next drama and I’m hoping it’ll be a good action or sageuk! How about you?