Ah, the classic idol-turned-actor problem. It's a problem that has left me scratching the ground in horror. It's a freaking epidemic, I would say. Here's the case. Idols are probably the celebrities that garner the most attention in Korea. They are fueled by hormones of adolescents thirsty for love from a pretty stranger they don't even know. This of course has become the main income to many money-hungry people. Putting idols everywhere from every single reality show on TV to every single endorsement on the market is deemed profitable seeing how many people actually love these idols.
But here's the problem. Seeing the trend of idol domination, the producers are turning to a new medium for the idols to lick on: acting. You see, I'm one of those people who appreciate the fine art of acting. I'm not an actor myself, nor am I an expert in this field. But I am well aware of the good actors from the bad. There's already plenty of bad actors out there whose main profession is an actor. I don't need another "actor" who doesn't know a damn thing about it, and people trying to force them into being actors when they can't even frown properly *ehem plastic surgery.
There seems to be an assumption that only pretty people gets to be actors. Or worse, pretty people can be actors for better or for worse. There's no denying that there's a lot of pretty and talented actors out there. But pretty seems to be the number one rule in Korea. And so we return to the idols-turned-actors debacle. All of us know all idols are pretty. Some people may say one idol is ugly and whatnot, but compared to the average citizen, they are very pretty. Just like what I've mentioned before, it seems as if these pretty idols can be thrown into a drama and expected to blow people's mind with their acting. Yeah, blow my mind into smithereens from the sheer horror I'm witnessing.
The reason why I'm being very fussy about this issue is because of a certain casting rumor that involves one of my favorite actors, Yoo Ah-in. He's looking for a new project after the super successful movie Punch which broke the 5 million mark a couple of weeks ago, by the way. We fans are still waiting for that song. In the past month or so, Yoo has been in two major casting rumors. One is for a cable car racing drama by the name of Speed. The second, and most recent, is a zero to hero story of a small clothing shop owner turned big fashion player in Fashion King. These two dramas have only been 'positively considered' by Yoo, with the latter being a stronger contender, it seems. But these two dramas actually have one thing in common. They both are in talks of recruiting two idols. From the same group. Considered into the main role. They are members of Girl's Generation (SNSD), Sooyoung for Speed and Yuri for Fashion King.
I pretty sure this is just crazy me talking, but I feel like there's some sort of conspiracy behind this. Speed has been rumored to cast Yoo Ah-in alongside Lee Jung-jae, a fabulous actor by the way, for months now. There's even a rumor going on amongst Yoo's fans that he got his drivers license at the tender age of 26 (tsk tsk, Mr. Yoo) just for this drama. But then after Sooyoung was rumored as the leading lady, Yoo's name was no where to be seen near Speed. Fashion King has only been recently reported, so there's no news as to what is going to happen.
Here's my theory. I'm pretty sure this isn't what actually happened behind the scenes but I'd like my ego to be stroked gently so I make this up as I go. Mr. Yoo does not want to play opposite an idol. Now, this might not even be remotely true. He has worked with an idol before in a drama that changed his life, Sungkyunkwan Scandal in which (former?) idol Park Yoo-chun was the lead. Mr. Park turned out to be a fabulous actor himself. That, or his character was flat enough for a noob to play. Nevertheless the drama turned out very well, with all four leads climbing fast into success. But here's the thing, he doesn't play direct opposite of Mr. Park. Mr. Yoo's character, Moon Jae-shin is the romantic rival with Lee Sun-joon but the two don't really have to do much. There needn't to be much chemistry between the rivals.
The thing is male-to-male (or female-to-female) chemistry is different than male-to-female chemistry. The former relies on angst (if it's rivalry, which is mostly the case) while the latter relies on romance. Angst forms easier than romance, as evident in my personal pathetic life. One can be mad at a million people, but can only be in love with one or a few people at a time. Technically speaking, looking angry is easier than looking like you're in love. To be angry, the major thing you have to do is play with your eyebrows and raise your voice. But how do you make a face in love? What is the operational definition of lovey dovey eyes? Remember, in chemistry, both parties have to look it. It takes two to tango. So imagine someone who is as great at making longing faces like Mr. Yoo playing opposite someone who can't even move their faces due to too much plastic surgery (not specifically pointing at anyone here). It'll be too much for him to bear.
I hope I'm not coming off as saying idols should not become actors at all. This isn't true. While the bad are many, a select few are gems. One of my favorite idol-turned-actor is Eunjung from T-ara. She might actually come across as actor-turned-idol-turned-actor. She is a prime example of people who can be great at many things. I will make an appreciation post for her one of these days. But the rest, if they really do want to pursue acting for real, they should start from the bottom up. Take Kikwang of B2ST, for example. He himself has stated that he felt it was better for him to slowly gain confidence in acting rather than become the lead from early on. Idols should follow him. He's good.
There's actually another problem I want to talk about which is rookie actors not getting jobs because of idols. But that will be for another post. Until then, I want to end the post with this. Idols should focus on one thing at a time. They're mostly singer and stage performers, so I hope that they focus on that first before trying other things. I'd rather see someone who can only do one thing but do it amazingly, than someone who can do many things, but only a little bit of each. I should learn from this.