When a new K-drama series is announced, one of the most pressing questions is always "who's going to star in it?" Choosing the right actors to play the parts is a crucial element of what makes a drama successful. Sometimes we go on to watch every other show an actor has done because they were so good. Sometimes it's the secondary characters who steal the spotlight, who have us clamoring for more. We wait with bated breath to see if they're going to be the stars of the next big series. This list explores actors who have proven their skills and who we are hoping will jump into that starring role.

1. Lee Yoo Bi — Pinocchio

Lee Yoo Bi was so wonderful in Pinocchio somebody has to give her a leading role sooner than soon! She has playing cute down to an art, and yet I was never annoyed by her "cutesyness," Her face is very expressive, and I felt everything she was feeling — a mark of a good actress. In the end I couldn't help but care just as much about whether she ended up with Cap Hwang as I did about whether Choi Dal Po and Choi In Ha ended up together. I would love to see her take a romantic lead. Sadly, she just turned down an offer to star in School 2015.


2. Yoon Kyoon Sang— Pinocchio

Another testament to what a great show Pinocchio was! Yoon Kyoon Sang managed to pull at my heartstrings every time he was on the screen. I was so frustrated by his actions in Pinocchio because I wanted him to be just a straight-up good guy. In the end however, I was impressed by his incredibly nuanced performance, which had me feeling all sorts of conflicting emotions at the same time.


3. Kang Min Hyuk — Heirs

We all know Kang Min Hyuk from CNBlue, but was he able to successfully transition into an actor role? The answer is a resounding yes. He managed to make us all fall in love with him in Heirs, even though he was cast beside huge personalities like Lee Min Ho and Kim Woo Bin. His relationship with Lee Bo Na in the show was so fun to watch, with his ability to tease and play cute. I'd love to see him in a heavier role where his character has to grapple with some difficult life events. Unfortunately, like Lee Yoo Bi, he also turned down a role in School 2015 because it conflicted with his CNBlue schedule.


4. Park Hae Jin — Doctor Stranger

Park Hae Jin has consistently played some big Second Lead characters. With his youthful looks, he could easily dismissed as just another pretty face. However, he has managed to prove himself over and over again with his ability to express himself in ways that capture our hearts and make the tears stream down our faces. His roles are almost always challenging ones with more serious and complex story lines. I'd love to see him in a lead role that still holds onto some of that darkness but lets him explore the lighter, fun side of romance. He technically had a lead role in Bad Guys, but it was more of an ensemble piece rather than an individual showcase.


5. Min Han Groo — Can We Get Married?

Min Han Groo has been in talks for the female lead role in Scholar Who Walks The Night. I really hope that it will happen because she definitely deserves the role. She has so much spunk and sass she could make the role into something incredible. She can pull off the big sweeping romance much loved by K-drama fans with ease and do it with humor, sadness, vivaciousness—with all the emotions needed to bring those goosebumps. 


6. Kim So Hyun — I Hear Your Voice

Although Kim So Hyun is no stranger to the spotlight as she's played roles in many K-drama series since she was a child, she has yet to grapple with a meaty, lead cast role. I'm so happy to see that she has finally been given the chance in Who Are You: School 2015. Not only will she play the main role, but she will be asked to play two different characters (a set of twins). This is a role she can really sink her teeth into and show the world her talent. I'm happy she accepted the role because we want more of her!


7. Lee Pil Mo — Emergency Couple

You know the saying "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride"? I feel this encapsulates Lee Mil Po's career perfectly. Always the Second Lead, never the Lead. I absolutely adore Lee Mil Po, and in every role he has ever been given I've genuinely wanted him to end up with the girl (major Second Lead Syndrome for Emergency Couple)! As already mentioned with Lee Yoo Bi, I watched his burgeoning romance in Pinocchio with just as much rapture as I did Choi Dal Po and Choi In Ha. I really want him to jump into the main lead role. He has stolen my heart over and over. 


8. Shin Sung Rok — My Love From Another Star

Shin Sung Rok has shown his amazing acting skill through playing some pretty sinister characters. He almost always gets cast in the role of the most hated villain who is going to ruin everything for everyone. In Liar Game, I was especially intrigued by his difficult to read persona. I'd love to see him use those skills to play someone likeable. His smile is so infectious, it changes his whole face. Someone give this guy a role other than the villain — he sure is good at that, but I bet my money  that he'd be good at the happier side of things too. 


9. Lee Tae Sung — Playful Kiss

It's been a tough few years for Lee Tae Sung with registering his marriage right before his military enlistment and then a divorce just before he was set to have the formal wedding. Lee Tae Sung is set to return from his service in July. We hope that he will return to some fantastic opportunities in the K-drama world. In Playful Kiss he managed to turn a character that was the laughing stock, annoying guy into a sympathetic and complicated man. He has the looks and the acting chops to pull off some bigger roles. We hope it happens for him!


Watch Lee Joon and Go Ah Sung as teenage lovers who face an unexpected pregnancy in Heard It through the Grapevine:

photo credits (dramabeans; allkpop; kdramastars; koreandramafashion)


Which actors are you hoping to see play big roles?