Hallyu has loads of talent and you can find those talented people dancing under the spotlight, singing to thousands, or starring alongside world famous stars. Many of those individual began in the music business as Hallyu idols: singing and dancing talents in the K-pop business. Idols tend to get bad raps as actors, but here are thirteen of those very idols who successfully broke into the world of the small and silver screens.
Former MBLAQ member Lee Joon is a true breakaway idol. He began in one of the hottest boy groups and then he experienced the magic of acting in 2008’s “Ninja Assassin.” Slowly he grew his film and drama repertoire until one sad (and happy) day he decided to focus on his acting. He left MBLAQ and embarked on a new journey as an actor. Let me tell you, the man has been quite successful, taking on a multitude of roles that were risky, challenging, and varied in character from serial killer to young father to lawyer. This is a man who isn’t afraid to take on any role with gusto.
Watch Lee Joon in “Woman With a Suitcase”:
After winning the first season of “Superstar K” in 2009, Seo In Guk came onto the scene as a ballad singer. Three years later he landed his iconic role as Yoon Yoon Jae in “Reply 1997” and his acting career truly began with a jolt into small screen stardom. He was so memorizing in the role that it opened up worlds of opportunity for him and he’s had a steady stream of acting work since. Most recently he starred in the adorable “Shopping King Louie.”
Watch Seo In Guk’s latest drama “Shopping King Louie”:
This international diva and queen of K-pop is not only one of the hottest soloists in Asia, but a solid actress as well. While she is not incredibly prolific, she has been very choosy with her projects and they showcase her mature acting style. Currently she is starring in “My Wife Is Having an Affair This Week” and is completely unrecognizable as her normal powerhouse self. She is just a straight-forward career woman with a troubled past and a very, very charming smile.
Watch “My Wife Is Having an Affair This Week”:
This rapping, singing, and dancing Hallyu star has made a few appearances on the screen, but the most notable is his role as Kang Joon Hee in “Reply 1997.” His role as the brilliant, shy, best friend of Seo In Guk was career-defining and very important to the drama itself. His character remained quietly in love with Seo In Guk’s in one of the sweetest secondary one-sided loves. Hoya’s treatment of the character with dignity and earnestness earned him a spot in hearts the world over.
Watch “Reply 1997”:
Im Siwan delved into acting pretty much at the start of his music career with ZE:A. This quietly talented young man slowly rose through the ranks as his experience grew until he starred in the film “The Attorney” in 2013 and drama hit “Incomplete Life” in 2014. It was these two projects that brought him into the limelight and proved his acting mettle.
Watch “Incomplete Life”:
This Girls’ Generation beauty is an oldie at at this business we call show. She’s seen stages all over the world and is no stranger to the small screen. What makes this talented lady so special is how much she has grown from her first role in “Unstoppable Marriage” to her most recent starring role in “Squad 38” is her dynamic growth as an actress. She has blossomed in front of a camera and we certainly hope she stays there for a long time to come.
Watch “Squad 38”:
This goofy hottie has zero sense of inhibition, which makes his ability to pull off comedic roles comparable to almost none. It’s hard to believe that he can be so slick and sexy as a staple member of Super Junior and so silly on screen, but the man can do it. In his most recent dramas like “She Was Pretty” we can see that his handle on more somber moments is masterful, making our hearts clench in empathy for his pain.
Watch “She Was Pretty”:
The Reply franchise has a penchant for tapping into idol talent, and boy did it tap into a great one with B1A4’s rapper, Baro. Ever since he appeared as Binggeure, a demure character who is the complete opposite of the idol’s energetic and flamboyant personality, Baro has made his mark on the acting industry. Since then he has played a young man with an intellectual developmental disorder in “God’s Gift – 14 Days,” which is always a huge challenge to genuinely portray. Steady work has followed him since he proved his malleability as an actor and we’re sure glad it has!
Watch “God’s Gift – 14 Days”:
Link to video: www.viki.com/videos/1033446v-gods-gift-14-days-episode-1
This little lady with a ginormous voice and personality has made a seamless switch from behind the mic to in front of the small screen. Most recently she starred in “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim” where she was the opposite of her usually sexy self and won over audiences with her plucky lady lead. Minah has had plenty of experience as a host and in front of audiences and that has definitely translated well into acting. Although not as prolific as some of the other members of this list, Minah is definitely no acting slouch. We hope to see her even more dramas on Viki!
Watch “Dear Fair Lady Kong Shim”:
This ZE:A charmer won me over in “Nine: 9 Times Time Travel,” where he was so raw and wounded I didn’t even recognize him. The role required so much depth, and so much mirroring of his older co-star Lee Jin Wook, that he could be mistaken for a veteran actor. He took on a similarly dark role in the mini-series “Sirius” that was a true challenge for any actor and absolutely nailed it. Comedy is also easily conquered as he provided comic relief in “Heirs.” We can’t wait to see him in “Hwarang.”
“Hwarang” premieres Monday, December 19. Make sure to catch the Viki Exclusive!
Not only is D.O. a member of EXO, one of the most wildly successful K-pop groups around, but he blew audiences away when he appeared on the small screen across from Jo In Sung in “It’s Okay, That’s Love.” He was unrecognizable as a world-famous idol and instead completely riveted drama fans as the achingly lovable hallucination of Jo In Sung’s character. After this marvelous acting debut he created the younger version of the villainous Lee Joon Young in “I Remember You.” It’s only made us even more hungry to see him in his own starring role.
Watch “It’s Okay, That’s Love”:
Link to video: www.viki.com/videos/1045912v-its-okay-thats-love-episode-1
In K-pop Uee is known for her lithe body and beautiful face, but she is so much more than that. She is leading lady material. After a small role in one of the masterworks of Korean drama, “The Great Queen Seon Deok,” Uee quickly escalated to main female lead status and led the hit “Marriage Contract” — alongside Lee Seo Jin — earlier this year and is currently staring in “Night Light.” Uee is a very natural actress with very little pretension behind her and that makes her perfect for starring on screen. She falls into whatever roll she is given and that’s exactly what we love about her.
Watch “Marriage Contract”:
This belting diva of Apink was another treasure discovered by the Reply series. The heroine of 1997, she captured the hearts of everyone who was once in high school and struggling through daily life, love, and worries for the future. Her Sung Shi Won was so lovable and relatable that we all saw ourselves in her. The raw energy found in this character also won over casting directors. She’s appeared in a few dramas since and her acting has felt just as real. We hope she comes back to dramaland soon!
Watch “Sassy Go Go”:
Raine0211 is a lover of all things Korean, especially K-pop, K-drama, and Korean food. When she’s not writing for Soompi, she’s playing the cello and singing. She happily indulges in all kinds of K-pop, but her biases are SHINee, Infinite, and VIXX. She lives with her sister, her roommate Elsa, and her two cats, Timmy and Momo, all of whom also love K-pop and K-drama.