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Singer-actor IU eyeing diverse roles in films following debut success

07:00 April 24, 2023

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- IU, an all-round entertainer who is hugely popular as a singer-songwriter and actress, is curious about what the future holds as she turns 30 next month.

Since her debut as a singer in 2008 at the age of 15, she has smashed music chart records and stood out in the group-dominated K-pop industry. She has also made a name for herself in the world of acting, starting with a teen drama in 2011 and going on to appear in several commercially successful and critically acclaimed titles.

Last year, IU walked the Cannes red carpet with her first feature film, "Broker," directed by Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda. She is now eagerly anticipating the release of "Dream," a sports comedy movie in which she stars alongside Park Seo-joon.

IU plays Lee So-min, an aspiring television director who follows South Korea's national team for the Homeless World Cup led by a former football player (played by Park) to make a documentary.

The diva used to go by her real name, Lee Ji-eun, for dramas and films but has recently began using her stage name for albums and other works.

Singer-actor IU stars in the sports comedy film "Dream" set to hit theaters on April 26, 2023, in this photo provided by its production company Plus M Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Despite being a veteran singer who takes the helm of her own stage, IU admits she is still in the learning process when filming movies and sometimes is hard on herself.

While filming "Dream," she learned it is more important to leave out what she prepared and go with the flow.

"In comedy, staying in tune with others is really important as a few seconds of delay could change the overall atmosphere in a scene. Whatever I prepared in advance, I had to let it go without hesitation if I had to," she said during a group media interview Thursday.

IU accepted the offer to play the light but cynical character in the film directed by Lee Byeong-hyeon, behind the megahit comedy film "Extreme Job" (2019), to break from her past characters with emotional back stories.

"When I first read the scenario of 'Dream' four years ago, I liked the movie's message and light character because I was getting tired of playing several dark characters at the time," she said.

So, she joined the "Dream" team in 2019, one year after the TV series "My Mister" (2018), but its theatrical release has been delayed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning her acting career in romantic comedies and dramas, partly helped by her fame, IU pointed out that playing an indebted, depressed woman in "My Mister" provided a turning point in her acting career.

Singer-actor IU poses for a photo during a promotional event for the sports comedy film "Dream" at Megabox COEX on April 17, 2023. (Yonhap)

Director Kore-eda earlier said he was moved by IU's performance in the drama and decided to cast her in "Broker" as a single mother who abandons her child in a baby box. Having proved she can really act in various genres, IU is now eyeing diverse roles in upcoming titles.

After "My Mister," however, she was noticeably offered roles in heavy and dark stories.

"Now, I want to play light roles in not-too-serious stories," she said.

Living half of her life in the public eye, IU said she wants to be close to her authentic self and use her inner energy in her works.

"In my 30s, I want to plan less and live a less intense life. If I am not satisfied with myself and my mind is complicated, it will be somewhat reflected in my music, acting and interviews," she said. "I want to be able to say, 'I am comfortable,' when I truly feel that way. I am curious about what kinds of results can come if I become that kind of person."


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