As K-Drama fans, we instantly recognize a couple of favorite faces and big names. These are the acting royalty, making up the top tier of Korea's version of Hollywood, constantly being casted and re-casted as protagonists and basking in the spotlight on our TV/computer screens.
There's a reason that these actors are always snagging the big roles; they bring life to their characters with a certain style and flair. But as they grow older and move on to take on more mature roles, we have to ask, who will be the second generation of acting royalty? Who are the up-and-coming actors that we can expect to reign in the future? The current princes who can claim the future vacant thrones.
Last time, allkpop rounded up a list of 7 top actresses and their second generation counterparts. Now, here are some of allkpop's choices for 7 K-Drama Kings and their successors. Take a look!
The Badass Beast
"Bad Boy" Rain
('Full House', 'The Fugitive') is the King of being 30 (well, in his 30s) and Sexy in the K-Pop world. With his crossover appeal, he excels in the K-Drama world. With his smooth-as-honey voice, rock hard abs, and body waves that can go on for days, Rain can play your macho ninja or angsty hero in any action-packed film or drama. His dorky persona and adorable smile add to his charm of course, but girl, look at dat body.
('Iris 2', 'Gapdongi') is destined to be Rain's successor in both the K-Pop and K-Drama world. A sexy voice and buffed up body to match, it was decided since 'Ninja Assassin' times, when Lee Joon played Rain's younger self, that he would eventually ascend to Rain's level of sex appeal and cuteness. Of course, the MBLAQ hottie has come to also develop his own flair, as he recently received praise for his haunting role in 'Gapdongi'.
The Sad Puppy
With those sad puppy eyes enshrouded in aegyo ssal (Korean for "cute eye-fat"), So Ji Sub
('I'm Sorry I Love You', 'The Sun of my Master') has an adorably gloomy look perfect for all his serious, melodrama projects. Yet despite his perma-pout, So Ji Sub's sad characters also have their quirky charms, making them less like Debbie Downers and more like jaded cynics who just need a hug. And when he smiles... sunshine!
Yoo Seung Ho
('God of Study', 'I Miss You') has both the eyes and the talent to be our next generation's sad puppy dog. A baby face with a mature feel, this young actor is taking lead roles by storm and begging the melodrama world to take him seriously. Of course, when he flashes us that dashing smile of his, it's hard not to turn into a puddle of awws.
Kang Dong Won
('Temptation of Wolves', 'Kundo: Age of the Rampant') has the look of a sly fox, but is actually known to play rather serious, intense roles. A man that loves the big screen, Kang Dong Won doesn't settle for roles that don't surprise and intrigue. Convicted murderer? Done. Kidnapper? Done. Swordmaster, hallucinator, demon slayer? Done, done, and done. What's next?
('King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo', 'Good Doctor') not only looks strikingly similar to Kang Dong Won but also has a penchant for taking on difficult, often intense roles. A spy, a doctor with developmental disorder, a Korean police officer working under the Japanese colonial rule, there's just no end to whatever acting challenges this man takes on next!
When you think chaebol, you think Hyun Bin
('My Name is Kim Sam Soon', 'Secret Garden'). Cold, calculating, and clean, Hyunbin has the rich, OCD snob act down. It certainly takes talent to turn a spoiled snot of a character into an attractive, endearing hunk with emotion and depth. Actors like him make the poor-humble-girl-likes-rich-jerk plots work somehow. I mean hey, if she don't want him, I'll take the charming brat. Hyun Bin, what do you think?
Like Hyun Bin, Lee Min Ho
('Boys Over Flowers', 'Heirs') is the prince of chaebols in his generation. Whether it's that 'Boys Over Flowers' poodle perm or that awful sweater fashion, pretty boy can do whatever the hell he wants because screw the rules, he got money! By now, Lee Min Ho has perfected his own version of the chaebol, and while he does not necessarily give off the same vibes as Hyunbin, he adds a twist of his own with his own tantrums and tics.
The Tragic Hero
When I think of Kwon Sang Woo
('Stairway to Heaven', 'Queen of Ambition'), I remember 'Stairways to Heaven' and the endless running. Seriously, the man has to be too deep into the feels to think he can catch up to a bus. But that's the kind of character Kwon Sang Woo is an ace at playing--the melancholy kind who is ruled by his emotions, so much that he'll dramatically shower for hours. Do I hear a sad violin playing in the distance?
Yoo Ah In
('Sungkyunkwan Scandal', 'Love Affair') may not necessarily look like Kwon Sang Woo, but he certainly will play up the feels just like his tragic predecessor. Like Kwon Sang Woo, Yoo Ah In plays characters that appear pitiful and helpless in their circumstances as they back-hug their forbidden loves or watch them die slowly in their arms. Someone wanna pass the tissue?
Cha Seung Won
('Athena: Goddess of War', 'The Greatest Love') is the man. Rocking that 'stache forever on his face with a confidence that can't be matched, Cha Seung Won is sexy, he knows it, and he shows it via all them action-packed hits. Flower boys move aside because Cha Seung Won offers a new kind of charm to the table, one that's tough, manly, yet also cocky in a goofy sort of way, a la the 'Old Spice' guy. Can he do a swan dive? Is he on a horse? Probably.
('I Am Sam', 'Iris') is sexiness on legs. Like Cha Seung Won, T.O.P takes the action genre by storm with his smoldering gaze, cool 'tude, and a deep voice that'll tickle any girl's fancy. Sure, there's no guarantee that T.O.P won't randomly turn on you and emotionlessly snap your neck (re: 'Iris'), but hey, at least you get to die knowing that T.O.P TOUCHED YOUR NECK WITH HIS OWN BARE HANDS. Life achievement unlocked (just in time, too, 'cause you dead). Silly T.O.P can also get super bingu-rific at times, making him a perfect match for Cha Seung Won's own silly humor.
The Classy Gentleman
Last but not least, we have Kim Soo Hyun
('Dream High', 'You Who Came From the Stars'), the studmuffin who looks great in a suit. Kim Soo Hyun has a traditional Korean look to him with his mono-lidded eyes and small facial features, yet he has a gentlemanly charm that gets even international fans swooning. What kind of Hallyu sorcery is this?! The kind that can make your heart go all doogeun, doogeun (ba-dump, ba-dump), especially when he goes all out with his kisses, dayum!
Yeo Jin Goo
('Giant', 'The Moon that Embraces the Sun') played Kim Soo Hyun's younger self in 'The Moon that Embraces the Sun'. Like his predecessor, Yeo Jin Goo possesses very traditional Asian features and works them with a cocksure attitude and winning smile. Not yet quite as suave as his predecessor, Yeo Jin Goo is still a cute youngin' who can woo a lady and his audience with his smooches. Look at the guy go!