From Idols To Actors: Super Junior Members And Their Best Onscreen Roles

Whether you’re a fan or not, you have to agree that Super Junior has had a great impact on the globalization of the Hallyu Wave. As singers, Super Junior members have been extremely popular, whether as a group or through solo activities. But back in 2005, SMTOWN started a special project aimed at turning a group of trainees into well-rounded idols who could do a little bit of everything— singing, modeling, hosting, songwriting, acting, and more! For some of the members, acting came naturally and became a solid extension of their idol careers. Other started off acting, even before debut, but have since changed gears in their solo activities. In this article, we’ll try to explore, briefly, the acting careers of the various Super Junior members!


Kim Heechul (1983)

Whether he was scouted for his pretty features or not, Heechul hasn’t left the center stage ever since he took it. His beauty, sharp comments, and rich and unique vocals won him admiration everywhere. But Heechul actually started first as an actor. He debuted in the sitcom Sharp 2, alongside another member Kibum, even before Super Junior debuted. In the sitcom, he played a typical scarred-acting-cool-super-popular-almost-jerk role. Let’s admit, his acting was awkward, but one can forgive that for a debut work from someone like Heechul!

In the sixth season of Nonstop, known as Rainbow Romance, the awkward acting became minimal and the funny personality surfaced. In the episodes available online, you can see Heechul being super silly, super cute, and super pretty. His character, like the known prejudices about him, is feminine, loved by everyone, and is doubted about his sexual identity— something that, for more than 10 years, is still true about his real life as well.

Heechul went to act in the heart-warming comedy Bad Family. Not only did the drama receive good ratings and reviews, it was a meaningful journey, and Heechul didn’t disappoint. As a lonely person, Heechul’s character Gong Min is bad at expressing himself and doesn’t know to appeal to other people, but his warm heart and sincerity are eventually felt.

Heechul’s most recent role was in tvN’s 2014 drama Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit. The drama didn’t receive good ratings, nor did it become popular, but I personally loved it. It was so much fun to watch Heechul nail his role and show off his great acting skills, and I would love to see Heechul back onscreen once more.

Yesung (1984)

Who would have thought Yesung would be the hidden gem as a Super Junior actor? He’s always captured hearts with his impressive vocals and heart-wrenching singing style. After all, his one thing as singing and he did it gloriously well. Even in his role in Attack on the Pin-up Boys, he was a singer!

Suddenly, Yesung hits us with Awl. Not only did the drama break my heart to pieces with every episode, but I couldn’t believe how much he improved with every episode. I honestly don’t care about the effort and time of the director or the number of re-takes. I know that Yesung played an important role for the first time at the age of 31. He was natural. He was convincing and heartbreaking. What else would I need from an actor? Yesung, where were you hiding all this acting talent for so many years?

After a role in a movie, Yesung went on to play a police officer in Voice. Although he spent most of his scenes sitting down, hitting on a pretty co-worker, I enjoyed how well-done his scenes were. He was funny, adorable, and believable. And the stalker episode? Look into my eyes and answer me truthfully— was that the work of an amateur?

Siwon (1986)

Let’s welcome our most handsome star. God bless his soul for how gorgeous he is. Not only that, he’s charismatic and talented. I can acclaim that he’s the only member who has been walking the acting path firmly. He started with Super Junior shows, cameos, supporting roles (Spring Waltz), and mediocre productions (Legend of Hyang Dan). He did very well there. He was even a scene-stealer at times. Great! Then SM did its most famous mistake and instead of giving him time to shine on his own, they pushed him to the spotlight in Oh My Lady! and Skip Beat. Siwon did a great job. At least, I thought so, but others didn’t. His fantastic supporting role in the huge production Athena: Goddess of War was acclaimed, but the drama didn’t do well despite its stars’ amazing performances and the well-written story. The King of Dramas showed a beautiful side of him and he really amazed with his blossoming talent. Unfortunately, the drama was another miss with ratings, so our star found himself acting everywhere and going nowhere.

I don’t know who it was that determined it was time to step back and give him a second male role but whoever made that decision is to be blessed for generations to come by ELF. She Was Pretty finally brought our Siwon to the place he was born to occupy. He gained the love of all viewers by playing the warm and funny Kim Shin Hyuk. With due respect to Park Seo Joon, the show was totally Siwon’s.

Due to his many connections globally, Siwon has also taken some small parts in grand film productions. Not a bad step towards becoming a global actor!

Lee Donghae (1986)

I understand how strong SM’s belief in its stars is, but it unfortunately led to Donghae being thrown into his first role in It’s Okay, Daddy’s Girl. The drama was not badly written, but it didn’t give him the chance to do anything. Donghae was then given a lead role in only his second drama— the poorly written and produced Panda and Hedgehog. It was like, “Here’s a drama. Now show us what you got.” The drama was not worth the effort and the sprouting acting talent that Donghae had. Skip Beat was a drama for fans, and it was only until God Quiz 4 that Donghae was actually given the chance to do some real acting. I haven’t watched his movie The Youth, so I don’t know whether to recommend it or not. However, Donghae definitely has the potential to become a good actor, so I really hope he gets a good deal after his discharge. Please make this happen, SM!

Kangin (1985)

Kangin is the reason I got swept into the Korean world, and he will forever be my most beloved celebrity. I don’t know about others, but I find Kangin a very good actor, excellent even. His expressions of emotions are varied, well-displayed, and realistic. He’s a born actor, and he has done well in all his roles, whether the actual shows were successful or not. In the three “real” roles he was in, including the drama Romance Zero and the movies Hello, School Girl and The Cat Funeral, he was breathtakingly natural. He played similar characters but played them well. I loved the three projects because of him. Not only because he was my bias, but because he really did a great job. Regardless of what happened in the past with this guy, if Kangin were to ever act again and receive support, he could be on the same level as Siwon— that I know in my heart.

Henry (1989)

Henry, a member of Super Junior M, first made his acting debut in Chinese-language dramas. He then went on to land his first major role in a joint  Korean-Thai film entitled Final Recipe. Although a typical, sweet story of an underdog overcoming the odds to save his family, his role was well-done and opened the door for even better opportunities in Korea. In 2015, he was cast in the drama Perseverance, Goo Hae Ra. Henry was the reason I actually finished this drama, because Henry being himself is the best act he can present. Don’t you agree?

From there, Henry got his breakout role in Oh My Venus, the hit drama which captured the hearts of viewers everywhere. Henry played the charming manager of a boxer and was totally adorable and goofy in the role. He proved to be quite the scene-stealer, especially with his constant mixture of English and Korea. He was dubbed the mood maker of the drama and the title was rightfully earned.


All of the other Super Junior members have done their own acting as well— from cameos to musicals, dramas to webtoons. Sungmin and Kyuhyun are both famous for their many successful musicals. Shindong has also done a few supporting roles in older dramas. Ryeowook and Eunhyuk acted mostly in Super Junior projects, such as the hilarious Attack on the Pin-up Boys. Leeteuk has done various cameos in dramas like “Dream High” and “Salamander Guru and The Shadows.” Super Junior M member Zhou Mi has acted in multiple Chinese languages dramas and films and was recently cast as the lead in an upcoming Chinese drama entitled Love Methodology.

Even former members Kibum and Hangeng both went on to become successful actors in their own right— Hangeng is a very in-demand actor in his native China, and Kibum enjoyed relative success until a string of bad luck affected his career. Since then, he also participated in a couple of Chinese-language projects as well.

Regardless of different levels of talent, Super Junior members have proven over and over to be a versatile group of entertainers and always willing to try their hand at most projects at least once!

Who is your favorite Super Junior actor? What was your favorite role of theirs? Let us know in the comment section below!

ParkChohwa: Chohwa is 24/7 doing things. She’s either at school or the university teaching, writing her thesis, drafting articles, learning languages, doing handicraft, or simply watching K. Anything to do with K or books attract her. Not 50 Shades though. 😉

Media: As Credited

Readers Comments (17)

  1. it is so hard so all of them 💙

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  2. Siwon is my bias of SJ – I admit I don’t listen to their music much anymore, it was mainly in my early stages of Korean music that I listened to them and DBSK all the time lol. I first saw Siwon in 18 vs. 29 and I loved his cute character (at the time I did not know who he was). I also loved him in ‘Oh My Lady’ where I thought he did a great job at acting. But my favorite role/character he has played is definitely in ‘She Was Pretty’ although I don’t much care for the drama as a whole (b/c we all know the leads didn’t belong together – this is one drama where the 2nd male lead should have won the girl). Siwon is also a fellow believer and he’s participated in the album ‘3rd Wave’ – I admire him more for his faith and firm stance on things like that.
    I’ve also become a fan of Yesung’s acting (already loved his singing) his performances in both Awl and Voice were really good. I’m anticipating more projects in dramas for him.
    Kim Kibum was really good in ‘I love Lee Tae Ri’ – brilliant acting that I can’t imagine anyone else portraying.
    I loved Heechul in ‘Flower Grandpa Investigation Unit’ – it’s the only drama I’ve seen him in but he was so great, he won my heart.
    And Henry ^_^ Mr. adorable 😉 Loved him in Perseverance Goo Hae Ra (also the only reason I stuck around to complete it – besides the great music) – the drama as a whole was crap. lol – I also loved his Korean/English sentences/phrases in ‘Oh My Venus’ – super funny 😛

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  3. Thanks for the informative article. I don’t know much about kpop, but several of the drama performances you have mentioned I have seen, and formed my opinions of, without knowledge of the individual’s’ background as powerful representatives of Hallyu via Super Junior. Of course I had heard of SJ and watched some MV’s, but that’s as far as my knowledge of them went. As the years have gone on, I have learned to put the 2 together. I think good singers who are great performers, by their nature, have the ability to become terrific actors. And being a singer and idol is a very difficult and stressful life. So it’s great that these young men are being given the opportunity to ‘try their wings’ so they can move into a different phase as they either age out of the idol world or reach a point where that life no longer appeals to them. I really hope that people will give these young men a chance without clipping those wings. We all have a learning curve and they need to be able to practice their craft to become good at it. They also need to know when to say no (if they are allowed to) to parts that are beyond their capabilities. If they are pushed into roles that are too hard, then the comments and criticisms could be very hard on them. It always makes me feel badly when I hear about this kind of thing as I keep thinking that that one could be my son trying to succeed at something new. I hope they have thick skins! Siwan is definitely the leader in this endeavor. I really liked him in Oh My Lady and King of Dramas (what a kick he was) having no idea who he was. He really did well in She Was Pretty. Great to go out on a high point. Just a few months now and he will be back. Time really flies!

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    • If only producers and agencies were as understanding as you are! They’re still young and full of potentials and we can only hope and pray for them to be given a chance to spread their wings as you expressed it.

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  4. Thank you for the article. I love Henry and Yesung the most. I hope to see them both in more acting projects. They take my breath away, they are so good. I love Ryeowook as a singer. I wonder if he will get into acting too,and if he is good at it. (aside from Super Junior projects.) I also adored Sung-Min in President (2010) Kdrama. It was one of the first Kdrama I watched and luckily for me, it was so good, as was Sung Min in it. As was Jay Kim aka Typhoon, BTW, but he is a TRAX member, not Super Junior.

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  5. i would say that none of these young men are my bias, but your writing has led me to want to look up some of their acting productions.

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  6. No. Sorry, that was off topic. I just brought him up because he was together with Sung-Min in the drama “President.”

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  7. Omg…..I just want to adopt Henry. He is so adorable. Às for my bias……it’s so hard to choose. I have a soft spot for Chullie…….he’s not just a great singer, actor and entertainer…he’s funny and silly……and dare I say sexy? I didn’t care for Sidon at first but he has really grown on me. I love his silly side. Donghae……..oh my sweet fishy……what can I say except…..Saranghae. I just love how down to earth he seems. That smile kills me. Although Panda and Hedgehog wasn’t well written or well acted….I’ve watched it more than once. I think it’s cute…….albeit, totally, unbelievable. Great article.

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  8. I love Kangin. Yesung has such a unique voice, and I like him as a singer, a lot.

    I couldn’t possibly not fall in love with Henry in Oh My Venus, and I didn’t know he was a Suju member.

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