K-Pop idols have a notoriously short shelf life. So not long after their debuts, many try to carve alternate careers to fall back on once they get too old to shake their tushes in choreographed dance moves. Today, the Couch Kimchi team will be talking about idols that act.
Clockwatcher: This topic is particularly interesting to me because I’m not into K-Pop at all, and I’m usually introduced to these idols through dramas. For example, I knew people like Yoon Eun Hye and Eugene as actors first.
Tessieroo: I’m not overly familiar with K-Pop either, but I can sometimes pick out which one is the idol when press conferences are held for new dramas. LOL. Then, I end up learning through Google that they’re a member of X or Y group. Strangely enough, it sometimes inspires me to listen to that group’s music.
Rinchan: I’ve stumbled upon a lot of K-Pop idols that way, but the ignorance is nice because when they act, I don’t have to be too wary of the stigma surrounding them.
Goodange: When it comes to K-Pop, I’m also green, and like Clock, initially, I found out about a star’s pop idol status after having seen his/her drama. That’s not the case now since I’m a veteran K-ent viewer, but as a K-Drama fan, I have some mixed feelings about their casting in some roles. When I know a much more qualified actor can do a better job, I do wave that imaginary pitchfork. When it was announced that YoonA would be playing the lead role in the Korean remake of “Nodame Cantabile,” I was in an uproar along with the majority.
Tessieroo: There are a few shining hopefuls. Lee Joon comes to my mind straight away because of his announcement this week to concentrate on acting. I might be alone in this, but I think it’s an excellent decision because as an actor, he’s amazing.
Clockwatcher: I also think our opinion will differ from K-Pop fans who love idol actors because they get to see their biases in a different avenue.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT IDOLS ACTING?
A COMPARISON TO HOLLYWOOD
IDOLS IN STAGE MUSICALS
THE INVASION OF IDOL ACTORS AND ACTING LESSONS FOR THEM
WILL CASTING IDOLS IN DRAMAS BE A CONTINUING TREND?
IDOLS WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL ACTORS
IDOLS THAT ACT WHOM WE LIKE
ACTING AS A RETIREMENT PLAN AND CHANGES WE’D LIKE TO SEE
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT IDOLS ACTING?
Clockwatcher: Producers cast idols because they have a built-in audience while netizens oppose this because they don’t feel many idols have earned their stripes. They think it’s particularly unfair to actors who work hard for years, paying their dues to get lead roles while idols with far less talent jump the queue.
Rinchan: Their resentment is similar to the way they resent nakasans. They hate the nepotism involved. They find it quite disrespectful to professional actors when they are passed over for roles in favor of idols who are deemed less suited. It is even more upsetting when they see a genuinely talented actor playing second fiddle to someone who can’t act half as well.
Goodange: I don’t have an issue with idols venturing into the acting world; they’re just diversifying their entertainment career. Prior to her breakthrough role in “Goong,” Yoon Eun Hye probably had two or three acting gigs that were nothing to write home about. When she was initially cast in “Goong,” she received a lot of hate, but in the end, she emerged winsome and had everybody’s respect. Once she stopped being an idol, she never looked back and focused solely on being a good actress. Given that precedent, I try to be openminded, but I do feel I’m being a hypocrite. I can be one of those angry netizens. Many times I’ve reflexively groaned when an idol has been cast in a lead role, and it’s his/her first acting project. I guess I prefer that the idols work their way up just like any regular actor. Then again, it’s the reality of the business. Some people just get ahead because of an it factor or popularity. Others get their big break in a matter of time, while others have to wait for that right role to be noticed. Ugh, my thoughts are a mess. LOL. Like I said, I have mixed feelings.
Tessieroo: I’ve felt some of that anger or disbelief myself when an idol is cast for the lead over many young, gifted actors! It’s frustrating, but then, one of two things happens: They’re good, which shocks everyone, or they’re so horrible that people feel justified in being against idols getting prime roles. I’ve seen both happen, which makes me wonder if a drama’s production team is just taking a gamble (that may or may not pay off) or they don’t really care.
Clockwatcher: I think part of the anger also stems from seeing talented actors with fewer fans or less powerful agencies relegated to second lead roles while idols with little to no experience are the main lead.