Starting an acting career at a very young age is something that requires more than talent and passion. Child actors always play the pivotal role in many films and drama as they usually portrays character backstories necessary to create a solid foundation for story and character development.
The experiences gained by child actors during their time spent with veteran adult actors is something that will always beat lessons on a drama class.
To prove my point, here are 6 veteran child actors of the korean entertainment industry that successfully transformed themselves from mini versions of main character leads to the actual main character lead themselves.
1. Yeo Jin Goo
With the title of “Nation’s Little Brother” along with the numerous acting laurels on his acting career, Yeo Jin Goo proved to be a child actor prodigy. From playing a child version of Crown Princes and Kings of many Sageuk, he is now sitting on thrones as the actual King.
He had already played a few lead roles in recent dramas and films such as Circle, Royal Gambler, Reunited Worlds and Warriors of the Dawn. Watch his currently airing TVN drama The Crowned Clown and you will see his years of experience in full use! We can also see him soon in the upcoming drama Absolute Boyfriend.
Some Notable Works: Moon that Embraces the Sun, Hwayi, Jackpot, Potato Star, Orange Marmalade, Missing You, A Frozen Flower, Sad Movie, Giant
2. Kim Yoo Jung
Debuting in 2003 at the age of 4, Yoo Jung came a very long way. Dubbed as “The Nation’s Little Sister” and “Sageuk Fairy”, she is now playing adult leading lady roles very well. She transitioned from child roles in Iljimae, Dongyi, Moon Embracing the Sun to teen roles in dramas such as Thread of Lies and Angry Mom to her first adult leading role in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds alongside Park Bo Gum.
Her recent JTBC drama Clean with Passion for Now with Yoon Kyun Sang is now proof enough that she is now a certified adult leading lady.
Some Notable Works: May Queen, Hwang Ji ni, Because I Love You, Queen Seon Deok, Golden Rainbow, Love Cells
3. Yoo Seung Ho
He began his acting career in 2000 by appearing in the TV series Daddy Fish but was first recognized in the film The Way Home. He also started out as young version of characters in Sageuk productions before playing his first lead role in teen drama Master of Study. He was cast as the lead in Operation Proposal a korean remake of JDrama Proposal Daisakusen before leaving to complete his mandatory military service.
He cameback stronger on his post-army roles in dramas such as Remember, The Emperor: Owner of the Mask and the recent I Am Not a Robot.
He continues to maintain his lead actor image with his recent drama My Strange Hero.
Some Notable Works: Heart is…, Blind, Joseon Magician, Seondal: The Man Who Sells the River, Flames of Desire, Arang and the Magistrate, Missing You
4. Kim So Hyun
Growing up with Kim Yoo Jung and Yeo Jin Goo on drama sets, So Hyun had her share of accomplishments as another veteran child actress.
She debuted in 2006 but only gained the nation’s attention in 2012 with her role as the young version of the villanous queen in Moon Embracing the Sun. She later appeared with Yeo Jin Goo in Missing You as the young main characters.
Her career was boosted with her dual role in teen drama School 2015: Who Are You with Nam Joo Hyuk and BTOB’s Sungjae. She also appeared as a recurring guest in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.
She is currently hosting MBC’s idol survival show Under Nineteen and is set to appear in the TV adaptation of the film Miss Granny.
Some Notable Works: The Emperor: Owner of the Mask, Radio Romance, Let’s Fight Ghost, Pure Love, The Last Princess, A Girl Who Sees Smells
5. Lee Hyun Woo
He started his career by starring as a child on big scale productions like The Legend, King Sejong the Great, The Return of Iljimae and Queen Seon Deok. He later appeared on Master of Study with Yoo Seung Ho but he popularity rose when he starred in the korean Hana Kimi drama To the Beautiful You.
He was well recognized on his acting role with Kim Soo Hyun on the film Secretly Greatly. He also appeared on the films The Con Artists and Northern Limit Line.
He played the lead role in the TVN drama The Liar and His Lover with Red Velvet’ Joy before leaving for army service.
Some Notable Works: Moorim High, Hwang Jin Yi, The Beauty Inside, Gyebaek, Brain, Man from the Equator, The Scholar Who Walks the Night
6. Kim Sae-ron
Her career as a child actress was well known for her role in the film Man from Nowhere with actor Won Bin. She first starred on a TV drama as the lead role child version in Listen to My Heart.
She then appeared on numerous dramas and films with dark themes that highlights her talents in acting and earning her awards. It was in 2014 when she starred in teen drama Hi! School: Love On alongside Infinite members Nam Woohyun and Lee Sungyeol.
She played her first adult leading role in the drama Mirror of the Witch with actor Yoon Shi Yoon.
Some Notable Works: The Queen’s Classroom, Manhole, Snowy Road, The Neighbor, A Girl at My Door, I am a Dad