For many Kpop idols, acting opportunities are irresistible: they can bring huge popularity, recognition, and of course, money. However, due to a whole lot of reasons, things don’t always work out, and sometimes idols have to turn down the roles offered to them. Today, we are reviewing some notable cases of Kpop idols rejecting acting roles, and the reasons behind them.
1. IU, rejected ‘Itaewon Class’
‘Itaewon Class’ is no stranger to Kdrama lovers: it was a massive hit, creating a strong wave of discussion with its diverse cast and anthem of youth. The female lead of the drama, Jo Yi Seo, is an anti-social genius with an IQ of 162, and the perfect balance of romantic and cunning. She’s a heroine that sways the audience’s heart left and right with her wild antics, played by cinema star Kim Dami.
While the actress did a brilliant job at bringing Yi Seo to life, Jo Kwang Jin, the screenwriter of the series, had shared that the role was originally meant for IU, who is one of the most famous Kpop idols
The writer believes that IU is cute and bright, and so makes a good fit for Yi Seo. Unfortunately, when the offer was made, IU already joined the cast of ‘Hotel de Luna’, and could not make time for ‘Itaewon Class’. For many, this is a positive change: IU was perfect as the badass hotel owner Kang Man Wol, and may struggle to portray the much younger Yi Seo. But some fans still mourn over their chance to see the singer with Yi Seo’s iconic bleached hairstyle and edgy cool-girl fashion.
Korean drama ‘The Heirs’ was a huge success – literally everyone was talking about this Cinderella story, and it’s good to say that many were charmed by the second lead Choi Young Do. Kim Woo Bin, the actor behind this resident bad boy, was basically shot to stardom after the role, but as it turns out, he was not the first pick.
The role was actually supposed to go to CNBlue’s Yonghwa – one of the most popular Kpop idols of the time.
On an episode of talk show ‘Radio Star’, Yonghwa appeared to promote CNBlue’s recent comeback, and revealed that he rejected an offer to star in ‘The Heirs’, surprising everyone on the set.
He said: “Everyone says this is an interesting role, but I want to try acting as someone other than a high school student. Moreover, the female lead was Park Shin Hye, and I don’t want another love line with her. We already acted together in ‘Heartstrings’ and ‘You’re beautiful.”
The idol continued to share that rumors surrounding him and actress Park Shin Hye had made them awkward around each other, affecting their friendship. It is a perfectly valid reason on Yonghwa’s behalf, and while missing out on ‘The Heirs’, he did get to play an undercover heir in ‘Marry Him If You Dare’, another drama project in the same year.
While Yonghwa did not regret missing such a popular show, his fans did lament the loss. ‘The Heirs’ had completely overshadowed ‘Marry Him If You Dare’ in terms of viewership ratings, and some cannot help but imagine the handsome idol acting out Young Do’s heart-fluttering scenes.
3. UEE, rejected ‘My Golden Life’
Despite not making it big on international grounds, ‘My Golden Life’ was among the most iconic dramas for the Korean public. With ratings reaching over 40% by episode 30, it was called a “National Drama”, and actress Shin Hye Sun, who played the female lead, had won two Best Actress Awards with her excellent portrayal.
But before Shin Hye Sun, another artist was offered the role. UEE, a former member of idol group ‘After School’, had declined the offer in order to star in another drama called ‘Manhole’. For the regular person, it may seem like bad decision making: while ‘My Golden Life’ experienced extreme success, ‘Manhole’ was struggling with ratings as low as 2%.
But UEE’s fans had a different opinion. They’d rather their idol star in a failed drama, than a popular one with a criminal co-star. It turns out that actor Park Shi Hoo, who played the male lead in ‘My Golden Life’, was accused of sexually assaulting a female trainee who was too drunk to consent. While the trainee ultimately ended up cancelling her accusation, the nature of the case is still extremely worrying, and fans care the most about their idol’s safety.
4. Suzy, rejected ‘Cheese In The Trap’
When Suzy, one of the most successful Kpop idols in the acting field, is revealed to be considering a role in the drama version of famous webtoon ‘Cheese in the trap’, the comment section exploded.
Fans of the webtoon openly opposed the decision to cast the idol-actress, with comments saying “It can’t be Suzy” reaching thousands of likes. To them, the female lead Hong Seol is an average-looking, ruggish girl who juggle part-time jobs, not the ethereal first-love beauty Bae Suzy. They even went so far as to criticize Suzy’s acting, calling it ‘mediocre’ and demanding for an ‘actual actress’.
The backlash got so serious that in the end, Suzy declined the offer and instead starred in melodrama ‘Uncontrollably Fond’, while Kim Go Eun took over as Hong Seol.
It turns out that the change was probably for the better, seeing that ‘Uncontrollably Fond’ spotted higher ratings, and Suzy developed a brilliant chemistry with her co-star Woo Bin. Netizens also agreed that it was the best decision for Suzy to pass on ‘Cheese in the Trap’.
‘Architecture 101’ topped the box office for weeks after its release, making it one of the largest hits in Korean cinemas. The movie successfully launched Suzy’s career as an actress, and even granted her the title of “The Nation’s First Love”.
However, the producers of the movie later revealed that they had sent a casting offer to Seohyun – a member of the legendary Kpop group Girls’ Generation. At first, it was assumed that Seohyun had to reject the role due to her busy schedules as an idol, but the truth turned out to be different.
Three years after the release of ‘Architecture 101’, Seohyun revealed a shocking information on Radio Star. When asked about her feelings when she declined the acting offer, the idol said: “I really wanted to take the role. I just hate my agency.”
It seems that opting out of such a massive hit was never Seohyun’s idea, but rather SM Entertainment’s decision. Seohyun never got a choice.
On the other hand, some Kpop idols reject acting roles in order to focus on music.
6.Seung Yoon of WINNER
Unlike other Kpop idols who become well-known after debut, before becoming a crucial part of Winner, Seung Yoon was already familiar with TV viewers through his appearance in ‘Superstar K2’, and later the popular sitcom ‘High Kick 3’. But ever since, the idol seems to have disappeared from the acting field, and he recently disclosed the reasons.
In an interview with Elle Korea, the idol shared: “I had my acting debut through a sitcom while I was still a trainee, and after that when I got invitations to join other projects, I turned them down. It felt like a sin to be unprepared and to try new things even before I could get properly acknowledged as a singer.”
7.Sung Jae of BtoB
BtoB’s Sung Jae is also known to be among Kpop idols that turn down acting roles.
Well-recognized for his roles in ‘Reply 1994’ and ‘School 2015’, Yook Sung Jae are among the few Kpop idols praised for stellar acting skills. However, despite his growing popularity as an actor, in 2017, after playing a part in ‘Goblin’, the idol took 3 years off acting to focus on activities with his group BtoB. He constantly talked about how his group members encouraged him during filming, and always introduced himself as a part of the group. While he did return as the lead of ‘Mystic Pop Up Bar’ before enlistment, it seems that Sung Jae put his musical career before acting.
8.V of BTS
Another case of Kpop idols rejecting acting opportunities is BTS’s V.
After starring as the young and bright warrior Han Sung of ‘Hwarang’, BTS V’s acting return is the most anticipated among Kpop idols. The singer constantly receives love calls from producers, and is also revealed to be offered an astronomical appearance fee – even higher than big names like Hyun Bin, Song Joong Ki, and Lee Minho. However, despite all these, the idol had no future plans for acting, and this is due to HYBE Label’s stance of “no individual activities” for his group.
For the world sensation BTS, group activities are prioritized, and seeing the height of their success, passion and bond, we are getting plenty of high quality music while waiting for V’s highly-awaited return.
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