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8 Must-Watch K-Dramas Starring IU That Prove Her Versatility as an Actress

IU is not only a talented K-pop idol but also a sought-after leading lady in the world of K-drama!
8 Must-Watch K-Dramas Starring IU That Prove Her Versatility as an Actress
IMAGE TVN/My Mister, TVN/Hotel Del Luna, KBS2/Dream High
IU is not only a talented K-pop idol but also a sought-after leading lady in the world of K-drama!

Lee Ji Eun, more famously known as IU, is not only a talented singer-songwriter but also a certified K-drama leading lady in her own right. Sure, it's no secret that she’s a successful K-pop idol with award-winning albums, sold-out concerts, and chart-topping hits—but mind you, her soaring acting career is not one to get left behind. Now one of the most sought-after actresses in the Hallyu industry, IU’s noteworthy K-dramas that catapulted her into next-level fame are further proof of her star power and acting prowess.

Below, we list down all of IU’s dramas that you need to add to your watch list, stat!

1. Dream High (2011)

IU’s first venture into the acting industry was for teen drama Dream High, in which she played the role of Kim Pil-sook, a shy and overweight student at Kirin High School with great vocals. She dreams of making it as a professional singer but is often faced with hurdles related to her physical appearance that hinder her from becoming a star.

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Since this was IU’s debut into acting, she admitted feeling hesitant about her readiness to take on the project initially. She said knowing that her role required singing was what gave her confidence, and she now describes her first acting stint as an “enjoyable” one.

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Watch on: Netflix

2. You Are the Best (2013)

Two years after the success of Dream High, IU landed her first starring role in a K-drama for You Are the Best, in which she starred alongside Jo Jung Suk and Yoo In Na. It tells the story of Lee Soon-shin, an adopted daughter who “gets poor grades, isn’t very pretty, and is not particularly good at anything.” She gets swindled by a guy who had her sign a contract with the promise of making her an actress, and she ends up paying off the debt of a stranger. She eventually crosses paths with Shin Joon-ho who is determined to turn her into a real star.

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Watch on: Viki

3. Bel Ami (2013)

In the same year, IU starred in romantic comedy Bel Ami with Jang Geun Suk. She played the role of Kim Bo-tong, a carefree and quirky girl with an unrequited crush on a pretty boy named Dokgo Ma-te since high school. Although the drama suffered from low ratings, IU's performance received a nomination for the Outstanding Korean Actress category at the 2014 Seoul International Drama Awards.

Watch on: Viki

4. The Producers (2015)

Two years since her last acting project, IU reunited with Dream High co-star Kim Soo Hyun for The Producers, which also starred Gong Hyo Jin and Cha Tae Hyun. In the drama, IU played Cindy, a famous idol with a diva attitude who was convinced to join a variety show in order to improve her public image. She is often called the “ice princess” because of her poker face and eventually falls for an innocent rookie producer.

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Watch on: Netflix, Viu

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5. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)

One of the dramas that definitely made us cry buckets is Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, the Korean adaptation of the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin, starring IU and Lee Joon Gi. Here, IU takes on the lead role, Hae Soo, who ends up traveling back in time to the Goryeo era during a total eclipse. She falls in love with a prince who hides behind a mask and makes everyone tremble with fear.

Watch on: iFlix

6. My Mister (2018)

In 2018, IU took her acting portfolio up a notch with My Mister and portrayed her most challenging role to date: Lee Ji-an, a woman who endures many hardships in life. She falls in love with a quiet and stoic man in his 40s and finds herself trusting someone for the very first time. My Mister won Best Drama at the 55th Baeksang Arts Awards and is one of the highest rated Korean dramas in cable television history.

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Watch on: Netflix, Viu

7. Persona (2019)

Albeit it’s technically not a TV series, Persona consists of four episodes helmed by different directors, all of which feature IU playing different characters in separate stories. The Netflix anthology series is divided into four segments: Love Set, Collector, Kiss Burn and Walking at Night.

Watch on: Netflix

8. Hotel del Luna (2019)

IU’s most recent drama role is arguably her most iconic (and no doubt most fashionable) as well. In the fantasy mystery drama Hotel del Luna, written by the famed Hong sisters, IU plays Jang Man-wol, the cold and moody owner of a guest house that caters to deceased souls who are about to cross to the other side. Her character gradually softens as she meets Gu Chang-sung (Yeo Jin Goo) who starts to work as the manager of her hotel for ghosts.

Watch on: Netflix, Viu, iQIYI

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