Lee Ji Eun also known as IU is a singer, actress, lyricist, and songwriter from South Korea. She made her debut in 2008 and has continued her successful career in the music industry. In addition to music, IU has also taken on numerous acting projects. Her acting gigs highlight her versatility as an entertainer. IU started her acting career performing notable supporting roles, which were followed by her playing the main lead in many popular Korean dramas. IU is one of the most notable artists in the Korean music, acting and hosting industry. Here is a list of the top ten acting projects starring IU.
1. Broker- 2022
Broker is a drama film with a fairly unique plot. The story revolves around two people who are responsible for selling babies in adoption markets. The babies belong to their mothers, who cannot take care of them. IU plays the character of a broken and confused Moon So Young, who wants her baby back after giving it up. Moon So Young is the main character of the story. The melodramatic film that carefully narrates the story of Moon So Young and IU is phenomenal in portraying anger, loneliness, and dilemmas. Moon So Young is a person who is completely lost about her life, and throughout the movie, her outward and inward struggles make her a character to which many could relate. IU’s portrayal of Moon So Young's emotions and complexity even earned her the best new actress award at the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
2. Hotel Del Luna- 2019
The 2019 supernatural drama is a memorable story in the hearts of K drama fans all over the world. The story revolves around a mysterious place called ‘Hotel Del Luna’ that is normally invisible but only visible to humans in special situations. The drama introduced many memorable characters. IU plays the main lead, Jang Man Wol, who is the CEO of the hotel. Jang Man Wol is standoffish, aloof, and indifferent. She is more concerned with owning the most luxurious brand than taking care of the financial situation of the hotel. She yearns for an extravagant life. However, the hotel prevents her soul from losing herself. IU flawlessly showcases her variety in acting through the role of upright, scary, and fierce Jang Man Wol. IU sincerely displays Jang Man Wol’s inner pain and loneliness. No wonder, Jang Man Wol is one of the most precious characters in the memories of K drama fans.
3. My Mister- 2018
The 2018 melodrama smash is one of IU's most memorable performances. ‘My Mister’ is a drama centred around themes such as human hardships, loss of dreams, and loneliness in relationships. IU is one of the main leads—a young, 21-year-old woman named Lee Ji An, who shoulders the responsibility of handling loan debts and loan sharks and taking care of her deaf grandmother. Lee Ji An has never trusted anyone in her life and refuses to accept the bright side of things. IU’s portrayal of Lee Ji An incorporates all the dark themes in her life, from selfishness to continued resentment towards privileged people. IU is phenomenal as Lee Ji An and captures the traumatic experiences of her life perfectly.
4. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo- 2016
‘Moon Lovers’ is a supernatural drama with a historical setting. The story is about a young girl named Ha Jin who is transported back in time. Ha Jin is astonished as she finds herself caught in the body of Hae Soo. IU demonstrated her wonderfully crafted acting skills in this drama, where she plays an optimistic character with a strong sense of justice. IU as Ha Jin suffers from painful life experiences, whereas IU as Hae Soo is strong and finds courage to discover love. The portrayal of a diverse range of emotions by IU in the drama, established her as a promising actress, quite early in her career in the entertainment industry.
5. The Producer- 2015
Producers is a well known drama among K-drama fans . The show revolves around the people in the production department of a broadcasting network. The show boasts an experienced cast of veteran and talented actors. Even with an ensemble of an amazingly experienced cast, IU makes her mark in the acting industry, through her portrayal of the diva ‘Cindy’ in the drama. Cindy is cold, emotionless, and reserved. Having debuted at an early age, Cindy had attained professional success in her career. IU’s depiction of Cindy is flawlessly executed, and IU once again captures the hearts of people in the complex romantic comedy.
6. Dream High- 2011
Dream High is one of the earliest shows engraved in the hearts of many K-drama fans. The show is centred around young students who pursue their dreams to become pioneer artists in the entertainment industry. IU plays the role of one of the dreamy students, Kim Pil Sook, who is a wonderful singer and has perfect pitch. Pil Sook is shy and insecure about her weight. IU’s act as Pil Sook is full of insecurities, innocence, shyness, and a desire to achieve her dream. The youthful drama is one of IU's most notable works early in her career.
7. Shades Of The Heart- 2021
Shades of the Heart is a beautiful and melodramatic film that tells the story of a writer battling loss and grief. The writer meets various people and talks to them. Eventually, he gets inspired to write a new novel. IU plays the role of Mi Young, who has lost her sense of reality. She likes solitude and often uses her time by herself for self-reflection. Mi young’s role is challenging to portray, and IU is always open to trying something new. Therefore, her depiction of Mi Young is full of grief, loneliness, isolation, and warmth to welcome new friends.
8. Bel Ami- 2013
The romantic comedy series is one of the most memorable to star IU. The story has all the elements of a romantic comedy with bright and warm characters. IU shines as the optimistic, love-stricken Kim Bo Tong in the series. Kim Bo Tong is the vibrant girl next door, and IU is lovely as Kim Bo Tong.
9. You Are The Best! - 2013
The 2013 slice-of-life drama is IU's most significant acting project from her earlier works. IU plays the main role of Lee Soon Shin, who is optimistic, innocent, and kind. Lee Soon Shin is bright and warm hearted and remains soft hearted even in the worst of circumstances. She lacks cleverness and lives her life with sincerity. IU’s acting in ‘You Are The Best’ is one of the most entertaining works of her acting career.
10. Persona- 2019
The miniseries is an anthology divided into four parts. Each part is directed by a different director and stars IU as the lead. Therefore, IU plays various leads in this miniseries. ‘Persona’ further established IU as a talented artist and actress who could portray the emotions and feelings of her characters wonderfully. ‘Persona’ stabilises IU as a versatile actress in the Korean drama industry.