[12.08.09] The Counterattack of the Idols: A look at the 1st generation idol-turned-actors

At a time where increasingly many idol singers are turning to acting, let’s take a look at some of those who have juggled their acting careers alongside their singing day jobs.

Recently, the hot topic in showbiz is how idol singers are taking on the challenge of acting. Among the recent crop of dramas, trying to find a drama that doesn’t feature a singer-turned-actor is like trying to pluck a star from the sky. Im Shi Wan in ‘The Moon That Embraces The Sun’, Jung Eun Ji and Seo In Gook in ‘Answer Me 1997’, have all received good reviews for their performances and have successfully established themselves as ‘acting-dols’.

At a time when it’s difficult to leave an impression just by singing, who are the singers who have taken up acting in the past and then going on to straddle both fields?

# The Nation’s Fairy, S.E.S Eugene
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# Fin.K.L’s maknae, Sung Yuri
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# No.1 popularity in g.o.d, Yoon Kye Sang
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# Shinhwa’s Eric, isn’t there a burning smell somewhere?

In 1998, H.O.T’s management company SM Entertainment unveiled a 6-member idol group Shinhwa in grand fashion. 14 years later in 2012, the group has stood firm by their name and has gone on to become the longest-running idol group in Korea. At some point, Shinhwa member Eric took a step to stand in front of the public as Mun Jung Hyuk.

After his debut drama ‘Breathless’, he went on to romance the late Lee Eun Joo in MBC’s ‘Phoenix’, where his line ‘do you smell something burning’, became a popular phrase. Word has it that his fellow Shinhwa members, who were monitoring him in the drama, were cringing upon seeing him onscreen.

For Eric, the public’s criticisms targeted at his acting skills didn’t last very long. After taking home a Top Excellence award at the MBC Drama Awards for his performance in ‘Super Rookie’, Eric went on to establish himself as a bona fide actor with his roles in ‘Super Rookie Ranger’ (aka Korea Secret Agency / Invincible Parachute Agent) and ‘Que Sera Sera’. He further ventured onto the big screen with his turn in the movie ‘Diary of June’ (aka Bystanders).

However, his next drama ‘Strongest Chil Woo’ suffered from low ratings, and he suffered more humiliation when his post-army comeback drama ‘Spy Myungwol’, was plagued by controversies arising from the Han Ye Seul incident and his Twitter comments. Low ratings aside, for someone who had won acting awards such as Best Newcomer and Top Excellence in Acting, his acting skills once again came under fire from the general public.

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Credits: TV Daily + Absolut Shinhwa

8 thoughts on “[12.08.09] The Counterattack of the Idols: A look at the 1st generation idol-turned-actors

  1. Everyone has its Ups and Down and to report inaccurate meanings and expressions which I agreed, totally can break or make a person’s future and career. If the reporter is based on his personal feelings he should be careful in his choice of words.
    1st generation idols turned into actors which I thinks pave a way for the younger generations idols to follow. A fantastic example is Park Yoochun ,he sings and act which now proven is good. If the directors choose to give the 1st gen idols or actors to act, it is his choice of who he picks to act in his show/dramas..Eric has shown in the earlier part of his singing days given a chance to act,thats shows he is scouted to have the opportunity and thus Eric can know his direction he wants .
    Eric in Shinhwa sing,dance and act which the awards clearly indicate he can acts if the story and character suits him.I’m in no position to criticize but be considerate to any person (idols of actors) whose future and career ,everyone derserves to survive and move on…just my thoughts.

  2. “Word has it that his fellow Shinhwa members, who were monitoring him in the drama, were cringing upon seeing him onscreen” ~ I remember they were saying not used to seeing playing such charistmatic role in Bulsae when they know how much of a dork he is XD for a rookie with no prior acting training, he did well with that starter roll

    11% average rating for Chil Woo ain’t that low (may be lower than expectation?). To be honest, with a good production, experience cast and luck of a high rating, it does woder for the drama. I don’t care how the media, most of the recapers agreee Eric was wasted in Spy Myungwol. And still there’re people loving (even the nonfan) come to love this crajee drama XD

    This soudnds to me like another lame bashing… what twitter got to do with his acting? and did he/she watch him in Que Sera Sera? He might not be the best actor but not bad as the article seems to suggest. How I wish he spent less time with Shinhwa’s stuffs so he can focus more to acting. Oh and try to get himeself some fans-reporters so they can chunh out better aticles too…. from Law of Jungle, to this… why do they like to pick on him often really baffles me 😦

    1. Actually I thought this article is pretty objective. Definitely doesn’t seem like a bashing to me.

      It’s true that SCW and SMW both didn’t live up to expectations, and the reporter isn’t personally commenting on his acting skills, but rather making an observation about the perceptions of viewers and the general public.

      1. stop short at members cringed uppon seeing him onsreen when they said not used to seeing him in kinda roll with all the cheesy lines, the reporter iimply his/her case of bad acting. How many idols turned actors/actresses can do that decent in their rookie days of acting….. tbh, my friend and many people (before becoming fans) didn’t notice any problem with his acting… it’s not polished but definitely not bad as implied by the article. and the mention of twitter, what it has to do with acting skill? 😀

        Reporters can make or wreak a persion at what the choose to write & how they choose to word their articles. I’m not shy from objective critics, taking observation with sensible analysis makes beter journalism. I know I ask too much and bias too 😛

        1. Hmm. When I read the original article I didn’t feel it was a prejudiced article though. Maybe I need to relook at my choice of translated words… The reporter didn’t really imply that his acting’s bad, he’s just pointing out public sentiment. But yes I see where you come from. Perhaps the reporter could have picked only the good feedback to highlight. 🙂

      2. I have to agree with you on this one. I re read the article and I can’t see any “bashing”, nor did it imply a criticism on his acting. It was more like the article was reporting the factual response that Eric got from the viewers.

        We have to take into consideration that the point of the article is to list previous idols that made it into the acting world, not to make a review of the acting performance of this idols.

        On another note, Yoon Eun Hye should have been added on the list.

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