Korean idols that are also actors

K-pop Idols Also Known for Their Acting

Sandra here! I’m sure I’m not the only one that loves seeing my favorite idols acting in dramas or films, and It’s actually quite common for k-pop idols to try their hand at acting between album promotions. You often see them playing supporting roles in films or dramas or making cameos to get their feet wet in the acting world at first. A lot of them however, never make it past a few appearances either because they lack talent as actors or simply prefer the music world. There are many others, though, that find a lot of success in acting in both film and dramas. Below are some k-pop idols also know for their acting.

EXO D.O. (Do Kyung Soo)

D.O. (EXO)

D.O. debuted as one of the main vocalists of SM Entertainment boy group EXO in 2012. In addition to his work with EXO, he’s lent his voice to several OSTs as well. In 2014, he made his acting debut in the movie Cart with a supporting role. He also sang the song, “Crying Out” for the film’s OST. He’s since starred in a variety of films and dramas alike, proving himself more than capable as an actor. His most recent roles in Swing Kids and 100 Days My Prince were so impressive that people began referring to him as “Actor Do Kyung Soo”. 

He is currently fulfilling his military service along with fellow EXO members Xiumin and Suho. The wait for their discharge is excruciating! 😭

Breakout Role: It’s Okay, That’s Love as high school student, Han Kang-Woo.

It's Okay, That's Love poster featuring D.O.

Most Recent Role: Roh Ki-Soo in the musical drama Swing Kids.

Swing Kids Korean film poster

Other Notable Roles: Lee Yul/ Na Won-Deuk – 100 Days My Prince, Go Doo-Young – My Annoying Brother, Kim Hwan-Dong – Be Positive, Beom-Sil – Pure Love, Private Won Dong-Yeon – Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days

My Favorite Role: I’ll admit I’m a horrible EXO-L for not having watched all of D.O.’s acting already but I just haven’t had the chance to do so! He also tends to be in sad movies and dramas which I avoid as to not have too many feels (seriously, I can’t handle it, literally was on the verge of tears watching some of these trailers!), with that said it was hard to choose a favorite role because he’s so good in everything he does! I’ll have to go with Roh Ki-Soo in Swing Kids though and I highly recommend you watch it immediately!  

Roh Ki Soo from Swing Kids
2PM Ok Taecyeon

Ok Taecyeon (2PM)

Taecyeon debuted as the main rapper of JYP boy group 2PM in 2008. In 2010 he made his acting debut in the drama Cinderella’s Sister and has since starred in several more dramas and films. He also hosted Inkigayo with fellow 2PM member Wooyoung in 2009 and was part of the main cast for variety show Family Outing 2 in 2010. Though he doesn’t have as many acting credits as other idols on the list, his performances always leave a lasting impression and he’s always adorable in everything he’s in! 

Breakout Role: Jin Guk/ Hyun Shi-Hyuk in Dream High

Dream High Kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Kim Tae-Pyeong in The Game: Towards Zero. This is his first role since his military discharge.

The Game: Towards Zero Kdrama poster

Other Notable Roles: Park Bong-Pal – Let’s Fight, Ghost, Han Sang-Hwan – Save Me, Won Chul – Marriage Blue, Priest Choi – House of the Disappeared, Kang Dong-Hee – Wonderful Days

My Favorite Role: All of them! I love Taecyeon so much! He’s just so adorable! I guess the role that stood out the most despite all of them being wonderful, was his role in Let’s Fight, Ghost! He was so cute and innocent in it that I wanted to just eat him up! 😍

Teacyeon in Let's Fight Ghost
Former Miss A member Bae Suzy

Bae Suzy (Miss A)

Suzy made her singing debut as part of JYP girl group, Miss A, in 2010. In 2011, she debuted alongside fellow JYP idols Wooyoung and Taecyeon as lead character, Go Hye-Mi, in teen musical drama, Dream High. She also hosted Show! Music Core as well as other events such as the Seoul Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, and Mnet 20’s Choice Awards and continues to host to this day.

Breakout Role: Young Yang Seo-Yeon – Architecture 101

Architecture 101 film poster

Most Recent Role: Go Hae-Ri – Vagabond

Vagabond kdrama poster

Other Notable Roles: Jang Ma-Ri – Big, Dam Yeo-Wool – Gu Family Book, Jin Chae-Seon – The Sound of a Flower,  Noh-Eul – Uncontrollably Fond, Nam Hong-Joo – While You Were Sleeping, Choi Ji-Young – Ashfall

My Favorite Role: To be completely honest I’ve not watched most of Suzy’s stuff. I’ve really only seen Dream High, so I guess we’ll go with that. Though it’s been years since I watched it and have not forgiven her for passing on Taecyeon in it!

Suzy in Dream High
Korea's Little Sister, IU

IU

Known as Korea’s “Little Sister” due to her girl next door image, IU debuted as a soloist in 2008 when she was only 15 years old. Despite her debut album being a failure, she came back next year to growing popularity due to her new “cute” concept. She made her acting debut alongside fellow singers Suzy, Taecyeon, & Wooyoung as Kim Pil Sook, in Dream High. She’s been an MC on SBS Gayo Daejeon, Inkigayo, MBC Creative Synchronicity Festival, & Quiz Show Q.

Breakout Role: Lee Soon-Shin – You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin!

You're the Best, Lee Soon Shin kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Jang Man-Wol – Hotel del Luna (You can listen to us discuss this drama over on the podcast!)

Hotel del Luna kdrama poster

Other Notable Roles: Cindy – The Producers, Hae Soo – Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Lee Ji An – My Mister, Various – Persona

My Favorite Role: Ugh! This is another hard one! I think if I’m being completely honest, it would be a tie between Moon Lovers and My Mister, closely followed by Hotel del Luna.

IU in Hotel del Luna
Rain Oppa

Rain

Rain debuted as a soloist in 2002 with his album Bad Guy. After the success of his 2nd album, Rain 2, he became a host for KBS’s Music Bank. In 2003 he made his acting debut in the drama, Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School. The next year he starred as the lead in Full House and the rest is history! 

Breakout Role: Lee Yong Jae – Full House

Full House kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Lee Jae Sang – Welcome 2 Life

Welcome 2 Life kdrama poster

Other Notable Roles: Kang Bok Gu – A Love to Kill, Park Il Soon – I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK, Taejo Togokahn – Speed Racer, Raizo – Ninja Assassin, Ji Woo – The Fugitive: Plan B, Captain Jung Tae Yoon – R2B: Return to Base, Mark – The Prince, Lee Hyun Wook – My Lovely Girl, Xiao Liang – Diamond Lover, Lee Hae Joon/ Kim Young Soo – Come Back Mister, Kang Dong-Soo – Sketch 

My Favorite Role: Obviously it’s Lee Yong Jae from Full House! He’s so good in it, frustratingly childish but a complete sweetheart! You can listen to us discuss this role in more detail over on the pod! I’d also like to note how beautiful Rain Oppa is!

Lee Yon Jae - Full House kdrama
Park Hyung Sik  (ZE:A)

Park Hyung Sik (ZE:A)

Park Hyung Sik got his start as part of boy group ZE:A in 2010. The following year he starred in the musical Temptation of Wolves alongside Super Junior’s Ryeowook. In 2012 he made his acting debut in the drama I Remember You. Since then he’s starred in dramas, film, and theatre productions alike.

Breakout Role: Cha Dal Bong – What Happens to My Family

What Happens to My Family kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Kwon Nam Woo – Juror 8

Juror 8 korean film poster

Other Notable Roles: Jo Myung Soo – The Heirs, Young Myung Woo – Gwanghwamun Love Song, Clyde Barrow – Bonnie & Clyde, Yoo Chang Soo – High Society, Sammaekjong/ Kim Ji Dwi/ King Jin Heung – Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, Ahn Min-Hyuk – Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Go Yeon Woo – Suits  

My Favorite Role: I’m embarrassed to say, I have yet to watch anything starring Park Hyung Sik. 😳Something I am definitely working on rectifying! 

SNSD Yoonah

Im Yoon Ah (SNSD)

Yoon Ah debuted as the “center” of girl group SNSD in 2007. The same year she had her acting debut with a minor role in the drama, Two Outs in the Ninth Inning. Since then she’s appeared in various dramas and films. 

Breakout Role: Jang Sae Byuk – You Are my Destiny

You are my Destiny kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Eui Joo – Exit

Exit korean film poster

Other Notable Roles: Seo Yoo Jin – Cinderella Man, Kim Yoon Hee – Love Rain, Nam Da Jung – Prime Minister & I, Xiahou Qingyi/ Ma Yunlu – God of War, Zhao Yun, Go An Na – The K2, Park Min Young – Confidential Assignment, Eun San/ So Hwa – The King in Love

My Favorite Role: Though I’m a casual fan of SNSD and have been following them for years, I haven’t seen any of Yoon Ah’s acting work. 😭

Apink Eunji

Jung Eunji (Apink)

Known as the main vocalist of girl group Apink, Eunji debuted with the group in 2011. She is also well-known for lending her voice to several OSTs, most notably for Reply 1997 which she also starred in, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, and Suits. She made her acting debut as Sung Shi-Won in Reply 1997 in 2012.

Breakout Role: Sung Shi-Won – Reply 1997

Reply 1997 poster

Most Recent Role: Da-Hyun’s ex girlfriend – Backstreet Rookie

Backstreet Rookie poster

Other Notable Roles: Moon Hee-Sun – That Winter, the Wind Blows, Sung Shi-Won – Reply 1994, Choi Choon-Hee – Trot Lovers, Kang Yeon-Doo – Cheer Up!, Seo Yi-Ra – Untouchable, So Hee – 0.0MHz, Elle Woods – Legally Blonde (Musical), Han Ji-Eun – Full House (Musical)

My Favorite Role: Definitely Trot Lovers!! Eunji is good in anything she does but she was so fun to watch in Trot Lovers that I was sad when it ended! I also loved how she was able to show off how amazing and versatile her vocal range is in that drama.

Eunji in Trot Lovers
Girls' Day Hyeri

Lee Hyeri (Girl’s Day)

Hyeri debuted as a vocalist with Girls’ Day in 2010. She and fellow member Yura replaced members Jisun and Jin 2 months after the group’s debut. In 2012 she made her acting debut in the drama, Tasty Life. Like IU, Hyeri’s also been recognized as Korea’s “Little Sister”. She’s also been a cast member on the variety show DoReMi Market since 2018.

Breakout Role: Sung Duk-Seon/ Sung Soo-Yeon – Reply 1988

Reply 1988 kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Lee Seon-Sim – Miss Lee

Miss Lee kdrama poster

Other Notable Roles: Lee Ye-Hee – Schoolgirl Detectives, Min Woo-Jung – Hyde Jekyll, Me, Jung Geu-Rin – Entertainer, Myung – Monstrum, Song Ji-An – Two Cops, Min-Ji – My Punch-Drunk Boxer

My Favorite Role: Again, I’ve never really seen Hyeri’s acting, however the Reply series has been on my watchlist for forever, so I will definitely be seeing her in Reply 1988 soon! 

Doojoon (Beast/ Highlight)

Yoon Doojoon (BEAST/ Highlight)

Doojoon is known as the leader of Highlight (formerly known as Beast). He debuted with the group in 2009 under Cube Entertainment. In 2010 he debuted in the MBC sitcom More Charming by the Day for which he received a “Rookie Comedy Award” from the MBC Entertainment Awards

Breakout Role: Goo Dae-Young – Let’s Eat

Let's Eat kdrama poster

Most Recent Role: Goo Dae-Young – Let’s Eat 3

Let's Eat 3 kdrama poster

Other Notable Roles: Goo Dae-Young – Let’s Eat 2, Seo Hyung-Woo – Iris II: New Generation, Ji Su-Ho – Radio Romance

My Favorite Role: Goo Dae-Young in the OG Let’s Eat. This is the first role I ever saw him in and he was hilarious! He’s been in a lot less stuff than the other idols on this post but I’m pretty sure he’s the main reason Let’s Eat 2 & 3 even exist!

Goo Dae Young in Let's Eat

That’s all for now! Have you seen any of these idols act? Were you surprised by any of them? If you’ve yet to see their acting, now you know where to start! Go forth and watch them!

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