Singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and actor, Lee Ji-eun aka IU wears many hats. From ruling the music industry to sweeping accolades for her roles in Korean movies and TV shows — K-pop idol IU is known to leave a mark in everything she does.
Supported massively by a fandom, which includes the likes of BTS’ Jungkook and Twice’s Nayeon, IU has lately been busy building her acting empire.
The “Lilac” singer made her acting debut in 2011 with the Korean drama series, Dream High. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that IU gained recognition as an actor, thanks to her performance in The Producers, co-starring Gong Hyo-jin. In 2022, she made her Cannes Film Festival debut with the movie Broker, which received a standing ovation.
Now, IU is winning the hearts of K-culture enthusiasts with her latest release, Dream. Apart from these, the actor’s upcoming project Thank You for Your Hard Work is all set to arrive on Netflix in 2025.
Check our complete list on K-dramas to watch!
IU movies and K-dramas to binge on
Directed by: Lee Eung-bok and Kim Seong-yoon
Cast: Bae Suzy, Kim Soo-hyun, IU
Release date: 3 January 2011
Synopsis: The show follows the lives of six students attending a prestigious academy with the dream of becoming K-pop idols. Among them, Kim Pil-sook (IU) has a particularly challenging time as she gets discouraged from pursuing music because of her physique. However, her perfect pitch and positive attitude keep her hopes alive.
About the show: Produced by ARTONE studio, the K-drama has been turned into a show x musical. It is being showcased at the Kwanglim Arts Center in southern Seoul, until 23 July 2023.
Directed by: Kim Won-seok
Cast: Lee Sun-kyun, IU
Release date: 21 March 2018
Synopsis: One of the most popular psychological television shows, My Mister tells the story of a 40-year-old man (Lee) struggling to cope with the trials and tribulations of his life. However, things change when he meets a young woman in her 20s (IU), who keeps a positive attitude in spite of her heavy debt and her ageing grandmother. The plot progresses as the two decide to help each other out.
Hotel Del Luna
Directed by: Oh Choong-hwan
Cast: IU, Yeo Jin-goo, Shin Jung-keun, Bae Hae-sun
Release date: 13 July 2019
Synopsis: This supernatural romance tells the story of an eerie Seoul-based hotel, Del Luna, and its peculiarly charming CEO, Jang Man-wol (IU). When diligent worker Koo Chan-sung (Yeo) joins the hotel as its new manager, he discovers the ghoulish clientele that Del Luna hosts.
About the show: The tvN K-drama is one of the most buzzworthy IU projects of all time, which brought her critical acclaim. Her portrayal of the cold yet vulnerable Jang was highly praised.
Soompi, quoting Nielsen Korea data, reported that the popular fantasy K-drama recorded an average rating of 8.3 per cent and a peak of 9 per cent across the nation after its 20 July 2019 broadcast.
Shades of the Heart
Directed by: Kim Jong-kwan
Cast: Yeon Woo-jin, Kim Sang-ho, IU, Lee Joo-young, Yoon Hyeri
Release date: 31 March 2021
Synopsis: After getting divorced, Chang-seok (Yeon) returns to his home in Korea to publish a novel based on his own life. In the process, he starts connecting with strangers like Mi Young (IU) by listening to their stories. Inspired by these tales, Chang-seok decides to pen a new book.
About the movie: One of the most popular IU movies, Shades of the Heart is the K-pop idol’s first full-length project to be screened at Jeonju International Film Festival.
Directed by: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: IU, Gang Dong-won, Song Kang-ho
Release date: 8 June 2022
Synopsis: One of the most heartfelt IU movies, Broker is centred around a found family of two brokers, who carry out illegal adoptions. A new adventure begins when a young mother, So-Young (IU), joins them on a peculiar journey to ensure her daughter gets a safe new home.
About the movie: In September 2022, IU won the Rookie Actress award at the Chunsa International Film Festival for Broker. This was the first time IU was honoured for a role in a big-screen release.
Director Kore-eda Hirokazu was one of the 2022 nominees for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Additionally, just 10 days after its release, Broker surpassed 1 million audience, as per production company CJ ENM.
Directed by: Lee Byeong-heon
Cast: IU, Park Seo-joon, Lee Hyun-woo, Kim Jong-soo, Go Chang-suk, Jung Seung-gil,
Release date: 26 April 2023
Synopsis: A group of amateur football players with unique personalities struggle to blend together while trying to achieve a seemingly impossible feat in the Homeless World Cup. Filmmaker Lee So-min (IU) captures players Kim Hwan-dong (Kim), Jeon Hyo-bong (Go), Son Bum-soo (Jung) and Kim In-sun (Lee) among others, as she turns their journey into a documentary film.
About the movie: Dream is the first Korean film to land atop the Box Office within 50 days of its release since The Devil’s Deal in March 2023.
According to the Korean Film Council’s Korea Box-office Information System (KOBIS), the sports comedy-drama received around 93,420 spectators, reports Soompi.
The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India
(Main image: Courtesy IMDb; Featured image: Courtesy IU/Instagram)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Yes, IU has acted in several K-dramas. Some of them are 'Hotel Del Luna', 'Dream High' and 'My Mister'.
Answer: Some of the top K-dramas include 'Crash Landing On You', 'The Glory', 'Squid Game', 'You Are The Best! Lee Soon-shin', 'Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo', 'Bel Ami' and 'Business Proposal'.
Answer: IU is a multi-faceted South Korean star and is adored by local and foreign audience alike. Known for her hit songs "Eight" and "Lilac"and popular dramas such as 'Hotel Del Luna' and 'My Mister', she has cemented her name in the Korean entertainment industry.
Answer: Popular movies starring IU include 'Broker', 'Shades of the Heart', 'Dream', and 'Persona'.