Of the latest crop of idol-actors, I’d put Im Shi-wan near the head of the pack, so it’s nice to see him building his resumé and taking on a variety of projects. Aside from his main gig as a pop star with ZE:A, he’s been steadily acting in supporting roles in television (he’s got a sageuk, a melo, and a sitcom on his filmography), on the musical theater stage, and now in cinema.
Where he has the time to do all that, I have no idea, but the guy knows the meaning of striking while the iron’s hot. Next up for Im Shi-wan: a legal drama film starring Song Kang-ho (the decision is not finalized, though the parties are reportedly in negotiations). I think that officially bumps him up a level in the serious actor category; while not everything Song Kang-ho does is golden (ahem, Blue Salt), he’s a definite heavyweight, and would make for Im’s most high-profile co-star thus far.
The film is titled (for now) Attorney and is set in the ’80s, telling the story of a human-rights lawyer. That’s Song Kang-ho, who was once shown a kindness by the son of a restaurant owner in his dirt-poor days, and fed for free. Song later becomes legal counsel for that boy (Im), who has grown up to be a young activist. The role called for a young actor with a decent Busan saturi accent, so Im’s Busan roots came in handy. Aw, this is a great setup; I feel my heartstrings being tugged already.
It appears that scheduling is the big concern here, with Im not yet committing (though he is positively considering it). The movie is set to begin filming in March, but he’s busy with a musical production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, which opens this month and runs through April.
I do think it sounds like a great fit for Im Shi-wan so hopefully he’ll be able to work things out. Admittedly, some of his roles to date haven’t been the most challenging, but there have been glimpses of potential here and there. The Moon That Embraces the Sun didn’t require much of him but to look pretty (literally—his prettiness was the whole narrative purpose of his character), but revenge melo Equator Man gave him more to work with. Unexpectedly, however, it was Standby that stretched his skills the most even with its light and silly storylines. His emotional connection with surrogate dad Ryu Jin always managed to wring a few tears out of me, and grounded the show in something more realistic, I felt. Let’s see if he can keep up his hot streak with his first movie.
- Standby: An introduction
- More lovelines and flashbacks in Standby
- Equator Man: Episode 1
- Equator Man casts frenemies and childhood roles
- Im Shi-wan goes from Moon/Sun to Equator Man
- Flowers strike back: Moon/Sun edition
- Shin Se-kyung takes on assassin role opposite Song Kang-ho
- Additional preview for Secret Reunion
- Thirst wins jury prize at Cannes