I’ve been watching Korean dramas for years but I am constantly surprised by the acting range of the actors who play different roles for each project. I have been so impressed to see actors take a gamble on roles in suspense thrillers and even murder mysteries instead of sticking to their romantic prince image. While you may know some of them from romantic comedies and love stories, here’s the lowdown on oppas who actually nailed their villain roles in TV and movies.
Kim Jae Wook . You may know Kim Jae Wook as the good looking guy from Coffee Prince and Park Min Young’s love interest Ryan Gold in Her Private Life. But did you know that Kim Jae Wook’s most memorable role is actually one of a serial killer whose voice was the only clue about his nefarious crimes. Catch him on the first season of OCN’s crime thriller Voice.
Park Hae Jin. Park Hae Jin often portrays a tsundere type of character in his projects like Cheese in the Trap, Dr. Stranger, My Love from the Star and Man to Man. However, he shone the brightest when he played Lee Jung Moon in OCN’s Bad Guys. Park Hae Jin perfectly portrayed the role of an evil genius, psychopath serial killer with his intense look and range of emotions. He went back to the romantic route with his latest drama Forest, with Jo Bo Ah.
Im Siwan. Im Siwan is known for perfectly portraying an everyman in Misaeng, or a romantic monarch in The King in Love. When he came back from mandatory enlistment, however, his first role was that of a complicated young intern Yoon Jong Woo who finds himself trapped in an apartment building with actual murderers in Strangers from Hell. His evolution from a mousy, provincial innocent to that of a troubled and bitter poser was a sight to behold and totally uncharacteristic for Siwan. He nailed the part so well.
Nam Goong Min. When you talk about evil roles, you have to hand it over to Nam Goong Min. While he easily charms the audience with his charisma in romantic series like Beautiful Gong Shim and the Good Manager and delivers on rootable characters in Falsify and Doctor Prisoner, I must admit that his most memorable role has been as Kwon Jae Hee in The Girl Who Sees Smells. A psycho killer who keeps his prey in a sub-basement prison and relishes in their pain? It makes one wonder how the same actor can portray the role of a good guy and bad guy so well. Nam Goong Min was last seen ruling the ratings with Stove League.
Park Bo Gum. This beautiful boy may be a sweetheart on screen and real life and he may have stolen your heart in Love in the Moonlight and Encounter but before he debuted as a lead actor, he actually took on a supporting role in Seo In Guk’s Hello Monster/ I Remember You. As Seo In Guk’ long lost brother in the drama, Park Bo Gum used his angelic good looks to hide his secret. He actually baited his brother with clues to his murders — plural. His eerie knowing smile and his obvious portrayal of the pain of being abandoned was so effective I almost forgave him for his crimes.
DO. EXO’s DO or Do Kyungsoo may have started out as a Kpop idol but his acting range is just out of this world. He recently rose to fame as Lee Yool in 100 Days My Prince but I have to admit that he shines brightest when he is playing complex characters like Gang Woo in It’s Okay, That’s Love, and Il Byung in Along with the Gods. His intense glare, which his EXO members always tease him for, elevated his portrayal of serial killer Lee Joon Ho in Hello Monster to a different level. His brooding delivery of his dialogue also gave me goosebumps.
Lee Jong Suk. Did you know that apart from excelling in dramas like Pinocchio, While You Were Sleeping, Dr. Stranger and Romance is a Bonus Book, Lee Jong Suk took on the role of a sadistic serial murderer from North Korea in the film V.I.P? Guaranteed nightmares for those with weak stomachs. He portrayed pure evil so well. It was a definite departure from his goody two shoes roles.
Lee Dong Wook. I’ve been following Lee Dong Wook’s career since he appeared as a lead actor for My Girl and I’ve got to admit that he is an excellent Kdrama oppa who can make my heart flutter with just a sheepish smile. However, he stole my heart when he fully displayed his acting range as the main villain in Strangers from Hell. His character, Seo Moon Jo played head games like no other and was always one step ahead of authorities with his every move. He was calm, collected and ruthless and those dead, dead eyes were the death of me. I was so impressed at how someone who looked so gorgeous could shed off his entire oppa image to commit to a role so well. Lee Dong Wook last made hearts flutter by re-teaming up with Goblin co-star Yo In Na for Touch Your Heart and will soon grace the small screen as the first male gumiho on Kdrama.
Its always interesting to see actors test their limits by committing to different roles. Mad respect for these oppas who were unafraid to shed their matinee idol status to explore interesting projects that really made their mark. Take note that most of these series were on OCN, a cable network that specializes in crime dramas. Kudos!