They first rose to fame as K-Pop idols, slaying performances onstage and filling concert venues with screams and applause. But these talented idols have branched out into acting and have since created a name for themselves as gifted actors too!
Although they have impressed in all the roles they took on, their most memorable performances are in roles that we so love to hate — iconic villains that stay in our minds rent-free, long after the K-drama credits have rolled up.
Here are 6 Idols who portrayed the most unforgettable villains that ever graced K-Drama’s recent history.
1. EXO’s D.O. Kyungsoo in Hello Monster
Best known for his portrayal of Lee Yool in 100 Days My Prince, EXO’s D.O. (also known as Do Kyungsoo) delighted audiences with his portrayal of a crown prince struck by amnesia. But challenge him with a complex role that requires intense internalization, and he will deliver with flying colors. In Hello Monster, D.O. portrays the young version of psychopath Lee Joon Young, a serial killer who escaped prison and returned with his new identity as Lee Joon Ho. D.O. turned creepy facial expressions into an art form, raising goosebumps from viewers with every gaze, every sinister smile.
2. 2PM’s LeeJunho in Good Manager
Before The Red Sleeve‘s astounding success sealed 2PM’s Junho as one of the most sought-after K-Drama actors, he got rave reviews for his portrayal of the cold, bitter yet charismatic villain Seo Yul, an ace prosecutor later appointed as Director of Finance in Good Manager (also known as Chief Kim). Junho effectively built tension in this K-Drama with his on-point facial expressions and acting.
3. Infinite’s L in The Emperor: Owner of the Mask
Who would have thought baby-faced Infinite’s L (also known as Kim Myungsoo) could ever have the capability to scare viewers with crazy eyes and threatening actions? In The Emperor: Owner of the Mask (also known as The Emperor: Ruler of the Mask), L started as the amiable and sweet peasant Yi Sun; later he was planted as a fake king, which brought out his greed and desire to become the real king of Joseon. L effectively portrayed the polar opposites of Yi Sun and the fake crown prince, taking it up a notch further by managing to pull in empathy from viewers for his tormented crown prince character. This is a villain to shed tears for.
4. 2PM’s Chansung in So I Married An Anti-Fan
Noted for his lovable character, the handsome and extremely frugal deputy Go Gwi Nam in What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, 2PM‘s Chansung transforms in So I Married an Anti-Fan, as the boyfriend from hell JJ, a chaebol brat who made the lives of his best friend and girlfriend miserable every chance he could get. Chansung portrayed the obsessively jealous and controlling boyfriend so well that it would be difficult to imagine him as anyone else.
5. Kwak Dong Yeon in Vincenzo
It may come as a surprise that Kwak Dong Yeon is on this list, considering that he’s not a part of any traditional K-Pop Boy Group, but unknown to some, Kwak Dong Yeon’s early career included being part of the now defunct Kokoma Band, as its vocalist and lead guitarist. Acting roles led him to play the most poignant villain in Vincenzo: Jang Han Seo, the half-brother and illegitimate son who appeared rude and cocky to everyone but was physically abused by his manipulative brother Jang Jun Woo behind closed doors. Dong Yeon effectively evoked pathos as he transitioned from villain to the awkward, dorky sidekick wannabe of Vincenzo.
6. 2PM’s Taecyeon in Vincenzo
This list would not be complete without including the creme de la creme of villains, the psychotic Jang Jun Woo, later revealed as Jang Han Seok. Casting 2PM’s Taecyeon for this role in Vincenzo was pure genius. Like Dong Yeon’s Jang Han Seo, Taecyeon’s Jang Jun Woo also underwent a character transition from an awkward but cute pushover associate to the deranged CEO who went on a killing spree with demented glee. Taecyeon was magnificent, charming viewers with his sexy English and dashing good looks, then switching to a crazy over-the-top villain. So bad that it’s so GOOD.