10 Versatile Korean actors who have proven they can play any role
Many Korean actors excel at playing specific types of roles, like haughty male leads or evil mothers-in-law. Once you find an acting niche, it can be hard to change. But some actors aren't afraid of taking risks, and they have made an effort to take on a broad spectrum of roles. We want to celebrate these versatile actors — whether young or old, lead actors or supporting cast — who have demonstrated their chameleon-like abilities in a wide variety of characters.
1. Kim Mi Kyung
I do not have enough words in my vocabulary to express my undying love for Kim Mi Kyung. Whether it's playing the sympathetic mother in Heirs, the classy aunt in Master's Sun, or the no-nonsense ahjumma in Healer, she knocks it out of the park every time, stealing the show with her memorable characters.
Are you watching Yun Jung Hoon in Mask? If you aren't, stop reading this article right now and go watch!
...Did you watch? Then you know how perfect Yun Jung Hoon is as the charismatic villain. You'd think he had spent his entire career threatening to murder people, but that's actually far from the truth! For another side, check him out in a romcom like Can Love Become Money or as a crime-fighting vampire in Vampire Prosecutor.
3. Lee Sung Min
There is something so comforting about seeing Lee Sung Min onscreen, even when he's playing drastically different characters. He's been a warmhearted king, a downtrodden office worker, a tough guy gangster, and much, much more. If you can't get enough Lee Sung Min, I highly recommend his underrated role in Miss Korea.
4. Lee Yoon Ji
Lee Yoon Ji is always a revelation because her roles are so different. Who would think that the fiercely hilarious ex in Ex-Girlfriend's Club was the same woman who tore out our hearts in King 2 Hearts? Basically, every time she has a role, I wonder why she isn't the lead of every single show. She's on hiatus right now expecting her first child, but I'm excited to see what she chooses as her comeback project!
5. Lee Bum Soo
Talk about a chameleon! Lee Bum Soo will be playing a terrifying villain in his upcoming series Last, but he has incredible melodrama, romance, and comedy skills as well. He was laugh-out-loud funny in History of a Salaryman.
6. Choi Ji Woo
For the first 15 years of her career, Choi Ji Woo wouldn't have been on this list, and she readily admitted that she played up her position as the "melodrama queen." Over the last few years, however, she has decided to branch out quite a bit into suspense and comedy. Her next project is the tvN romantic comedy about a woman who decides to go back to school after caring for her husband and son for years. It sounds like Twenty Again will be a far cry from her Winter Sonata days! It just goes to show that it's never too late to try something new.
7. Kim Sung Oh
8. Ji Sung
His filmography was already pretty versatile, but if anyone had any doubts about Ji Sung's ability to switch from one role to the next, his many personalities on Kill Me, Heal Me resolved that question once and for all.
If we're looking for versatility in the up-and-coming generation of actors, look no further than Park Bo Young. It's amazing how quickly she switches between two drastically different characters in Oh My Ghostess, but she's had a lot of practice! The young actress has ten films and five dramas under her belt, and no two roles are quite the same.
10. Kang Ha Neul
On the male side of the up-and-comers, we have to recognize Kang Ha Neul. He works like crazy, moving from one role to the next, and he has been very careful about avoiding getting pigeonholed into just one type of character. For example, in 2014-2015 alone, he has covered the genres of horror, history, comedy, thriller, melodrama, and slice-of-life. Is there anything he can't do?
Of course, there's no way all of the versatile K-drama actors and actresses could fit on one list of 10 (or 50, for that matter). These were some of my favorites, but who would you add? What are some of your favorite roles these talented actors have played? What would you like to see them try next? Share your thoughts in the comments!
See Lee Bum Soo's villainous turn when Last premieres Monday, July 27 on DramaFever. Sign up for new episode alerts HERE and check out the trailer below: