There’s actually a very large number of Kpop Idols who have turned to acting either as a light hearted attempt or as a serious vocation. It seems many of the skills they learn as idol trainees prove useful in the field of acting. Knowing the short life span of many Kpop groups it is often also perhaps a sensible move to broaden their future career choices. Idol groups don’t often have long life spans.
We have all seen good and bad idol actors as well as those who given a second chance prove that they can learn and grow into fantastic actors in this demanding field. And then there’s a few who maybe should stick to singing. However, here I’m mentioning some of my favorites from three generations of idols.
I’m going to start out with Yoon Kye Sang, sometimes known just as Kyesang, who was a member of the first generation Kpop group g.o.d. Just like Cha Seung Won and So Ji Sub paved the way for models to become actors so Kyesang proved to entertainment companies that idols could become talented actors as well.
Born in 1978 he debuted with g.o.d. in 1999 and enjoyed about five years with one of the most popular groups of the era. In 2004 he left the group and began acting. He won ‘Best New Actor’ for his debut role in the movie Flying Boys.
He has been in about 15 movies, with Poongsan (2011), The Outlaws (2017) with Ma Dong Seok, and Mai-Mo-E: The Secret Mission (2019) perhaps being his most popular.
He also has a whole list of Kdramas under his belt starting with My 19 Year Old Sister In Law (2004). He was in one of my favorite dramas The Greatest Love (2011) with Cha Seung Won. Another popular drama was 2016’s The Good Wife while he is now starring in Chocolate (2019/20) which can be found on Netflix.
g.o.d. have occasionally got together over the years and in 2015 even held a reunion tour, but acting appears to be Kyesang’s main focus now. His stellar acting skills and successful career definitely made it somewhat easier for the idols who followed.
Although T.O.P aka Choi Seung Hyun is more well known for being a part of Big Bang he is also a talented actor who has appeared in both movies and dramas. He has even won a few acting awards for his work. T.O.P can easily be considered a second generation idol. He was born in 1987 he debuted with Big Bang in 2006 and as an actor in I Am Sam in 2007.
He has actually appeared in more movies than TV dramas and has received critical recognition for his acting. He has been the lead actor in most of his movies. Tazza: The Hidden Card (2014) proved to be quite popular. Then he starred in an international film produced by a German/Chinese collaboration. That movie, Out Of Control (2017) premiered at the Cologne Film Festival, unfortunately it only received middling reviews.
T.O.P has now completed his military service and it remains to be seen whether he continues with his acting career or whether music or art draws his interest in the future.
Taecyeon of 2PM fame is also a talented 2nd generation actor. Born in 1988 he spent quite a few of his younger years in the US. He debuted with 2PM 2008 and as an actor in 2010 in Cinderella’s Sister. But it was perhaps Dream High (2011) which drew fan’s attention.
Excepting his years doing military service he has averaged about one drama a year. Let’s Fight Ghost (2016) co starring Kim So Hyun cemented him in the industry as a lead actor. He has also appeared in two movies and has received favorable reviews for his acting.
And the above photo is from his 2PM days and one of the reasons you might hear him called a ‘beast’ idol.
As I said earlier there’s an awful lot of idols who act so choosing just a few as examples is really tough. ( I think I’ll do a part 2.) For third generation idols the one who stands out the most to me has to be D.O. from EXO.
Born in 1993 he debuted as the eighth member of EXO in 2012, and then in 2014 he began his acting career in the movie Cart. That same year he appeared in the drama It’s Okay, That’s Love and was nominated for three Awards, two of which he won. He has continued to win numerous acting awards both for his dramas as well as his movies.
His dramas include Hello Monster a chilling mystery thriller where he plays the younger version of a psychopathic killer. He nailed the part. He was scary and intense and charming. If you haven’t seen this drama it stars Seo In Guk and Park Bo Gum and is well worth watching.
The 2018 100 Days My Prince, a sageuk drama was his first lead role and did well for being a Cable drama, and he received a lot of favorable reviews and awards.
He has been in seven movies and an eighth as a voice actor. While Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017) did well at the box office in Korea, the second one didn’t do quite as well. But for a young actor to be able to act with such experienced senior actors in two movies must have be a fantastic experience for D.O.
D.O. took a starring role in the 2018 musical film Swing Kids. He had to learn to tap dance and apparently became quite good at it.
Currently he is doing his military service and I know a lot of us are eagerly awaiting his return, both to being an idol as well as an actor.
Have a great day everyone.
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You may also enjoy Easy On The Eyes: Korean Models Turned Actors.