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(News Focus) Girl group idols prove worthy of big roles

All News 13:01 July 19, 2016

By Chung Joo-won, Cho Min-jung

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korean girl group members have long suffered from the social stigma that idol singers are terrible at acting, yet are effortless in stealing roles.

Some idol singers, however, are notably breaking that stereotype of singer-turned-actors. Three girl group idols -- Hyeri and Minah of Girl's Day and Nana of After School -- drew rave reviews in their recent appearances on the small screen, proving themselves worthy of larger parts.

"I let go of everything," said Minah of Girl's Day, as she attended the press conference for "Beautiful Gong Shim," her latest television rom-com series that concluded on Sunday.

"Eyeliner means the whole world to me, but I gave it up for this show," she said.

Before the airing of drama's first episode, the 23-year-old had confronted plenty of worries from the production staff and critics about her lack of acting experience.

On top of that, Namgoong Min, the male lead actor of the drama, added to the potential weakness of the drama. The actor was said to not have enough time to switch from his former role as a villain to the prince charming in the show.

Minah, however, was a natural as her character Gong Shim, winning the support of the viewers.

In the 20-episode drama on SBS TV, Minah certainly "let go" of her idol image in her portrayal of the sloppy-yet-sweet job-seeker Gong Shim. During most of her screen time on the show, Minah did not mind wearing a huge "Cleopatra wig" to play a distressed bum suffering from intensive hair loss.

Amid positive reviews, Minah attributed her better-than-expected performance to the drama's producer. She also thanked Namgoong for giving her valuable tips on acting.

Nana, a member of seven-member K-pop girl group After School, made her first domestic drama appearance with tvN's "Good Wife," the South Korean remake of the hit U.S. legal television series of the same title.

The 24-year-old won the hearts of female viewers as she played Kim Dan, an in-house investigator of a prestigious law firm. She earned favorable reviews from the start as she played the cold-hearted yet alluring career woman.

Not a newcomer to acting, Nana made her acting debut with China's "Love Weaves Through A Millennium" on Hunan Satellite TV in 2015. The drama is a Chinese remake of the South Korean time-slipping romantic series "Queen In-hyun's Man."

Thanks to the Chinese drama, Nana was cast in "Good Wife" by the show's South Korean producer Lee Jung-hyo who also participated in shooting "Love Weaves Through A Millennium."

"I had this scene in my head, where Nana made such a strong impression (in the Chinese drama), so I offered her a chance to audition," Lee later said in a press conference for "Good Wife."

Another lucky moment for Nana came during the shooting of "Good Wife." Top actress Jeon Do-yeon, the heroine of the drama and a.k.a. "queen of Cannes," gave her personal acting lessons on the side.

There is little doubt that Hyeri of Girl's Day was one of the most successful idol-turned-actresses of 2015.

Amid abounding concerns, the 22-year-old K-pop artist snatched the lead female role in mega-hit television drama series "Reply 1988" on tvN.

Hyeri made the perfect Deoksun, the middle child of an ordinary, economically struggling family. Bolstered by the drama's fierce marketing of nostalgia that stirred up "Reply 1988 syndrome," Hyeri established herself as an actress solely on acting skills, according to local critics.

However, her fame as a bankable hit maker in the Korean drama market was somewhat undermined by her next show, "Entertainer," a much-anticipated comedy-drama series on SBS.

The new series concluded with an 8.7 viewership rating, a lower-than-expected performance considering Hyeri's immense popularity.


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