Idols being casted in K-dramas and movies is already old news, and from past to present, many idols have become successful in the field, gaining approval from even the strictest viewers. But many still question: Why choose idols instead of newbie actors? Isn’t it better to have someone specialized in acting? Well, many producers had explained their choice in an interview about idol-actors in the industry. And today, let’s bring it back to the spotlight.
Reason 1: Confidence
According to an insider, it is natural that they would want idols, as idols show better confidence and skills straight from the audition.
The insider said: “Companies now train idols in acting, and should idols be asked to do something, they would do it without hesitation. I have to admit they do pretty well, much better than rookies.”
True enough, idols are used to having a camera follow their every step, as they spend every day under the spotlight. They are thus natural on cam and know how to make themselves look nice when being filmed. They are not camera-shy, for they had experience dealing with the camera, whether it’s on stage, in their daily life, or on variety shows. Compared to rookie actors who are not yet used to being filmed, idols tend to be more confident, act more natural, and it often shows in their performance.
Many idols are now proving their ability on the screen with convincing acting, and some are highly praised. Do you have any favorites to share?
Reason 2: Lower budget
The second reason may be quite surprising to the public – it’s about the budget. Many would have thought that with idols’ extreme popularity, they would be paid handsomely, much higher than rookie actors.
The truth differs, however: most idols are paid similarly, or even less than new actors, and this applies despite popularity.
Rookie actors would ask for around 6,000 dollars per episode, a director shared.
Meanwhile, f(x)’s Krystal, was only paid around 5,000 dollars for her appearance in the Hallyu sensation ‘The Heirs’ and ‘The Bride of Habaek’.
The gap is even wider when it comes to bigger names. Rates of famous actors like Lee Minho can surpass 60,000 dollars per episode, while that for idol-actors like Suzy, was much lower – a meager 15,000 dollars.
“Idols rarely ask for more,” the director added.
But what makes idols accept lower pay? To many idols, acting is not their main source of income. Therefore, it’s easier for them to receive lower pay in exchange for recognition. All they need is a popular drama or movie, and their names would be much wider known. This means more advertisement contracts for the idols – a huge source of money and popularity.
In fact, many idols have gained extreme fame after appearing in dramas, and that helps boost their groups in the process. Ever stan a group with similar circumstances?
Reason 3: The foreign market
According to a drama production staff, having an idol among the cast would help sell the production’s copyright to foreign countries.
He said: “The ability to sell the copyright of a production overseas is dependent on whether or not there is an idol featured in the cast. The idol may not be a top idol in Korea, but as they’re popular overseas, the copyright will sell.”
He also added that casting an idol may not help a drama be successful in Korea, but the film will break even thanks to copyright fees. This helps ensure the drama’s earning, regardless of domestic viewership.
We are already seeing this happen with ‘Snowdrop’, an upcoming K-drama which will star Blackpink’s Jisoo. There is barely any information about the drama, as it’s not even aired, and yet foreign fans are talking about it so much, that we can already anticipate it being bought by Netflix and other streaming services.
As international fans are unable to see their idols in real life, especially during the pandemic, they would whole-heartedly support their idol’s acting career. After all, watching a drama (usually with subs) is much easier than streaming music on Korean sites and voting in Korean shows. As a drama eliminates the language barrier between K-pop idols and their foreign fans, the casting of idols is a great thing for both the production team and the fans.
Reason 4: Attention
Hiring idols may have both pros and cons, but producers want them on the cast anyways. The reason? They create topics, articles, and are talked about frequently.
A director shared: “Idols attract the most attention. If the idol is a good actor, then that’s great. People with low expectations will be blown away, and their reactions will be even more dramatic when they realize that’s an idol.”
Even if the idol is not really good at acting, then there’s still topics regarding the bad acting, and as long as the drama is being talked about, that’s a good sign, he added.
Another director commented: “I also prefer idols. Netizens keep asking for newbie actors, but what do they know? What makes rookies more special than idols? If they are that good, then we’d have casted them. In reality, their acting skills are not that different, and the idols already have fame. So, I’d choose an idol with normal acting skills over a normal newbie any day.”
And it’s true, even with the tiniest cameo role, having an idol on the cast means attention. The drama will be widely discussed, which is basically free marketing. There are so many bad actors out there, so what’s wrong with a couple of idols on the screen?
What about you? Do you agree with these assessments? Or should idols just focus on their musical careers and leave the ground for rookie actors?