Lee Yoo Bi Garners Praise and Media Attention After Breakout Performance in Gu Family Book

It’s hard to do these days but consider me impressed with rising young K-actress Lee Yoo Bi. She first popped up on my radar in Nice Guy (The Innocent Man) with a capable cast led by Song Joong Ki and Moon Chae Won, but her acting debut was actually in the hilariously terrible sitcom Vampire Idol. Not exactly a title one wants to boost the resume. She’s the daughter of established veteran K-actress Kyun Mi Ri, who pops up in every other drama in supporting roles usually as the mom these days. She’s still very beautiful though there is nothing wrong with graduating to mom characters. She is the real life mom of Lee Yoo Bi and everyone’s first instinct is to assume Lee Yoo Bi is getting the insider treatment as she launches her acting career. I think every successful actor or actress has his or her own backing somewhere so I’m more interested in whether Lee Yoo Bi actually has acting talent and potential. She played Song Joong Ki’s younger sister in NG and there were flashes of fire and potential but her character was pretty useless and mostly a plot device, so with it Lee Yoo Bi faded into the woodwork especially since Song Joong Ki and second female lead Park Shi Yeon were acting their butts off. So when Lee Yoo Bi was cast in Gu Family Book alongside Lee Seung Gi and Suzy I thought she’d be the weak link. Yes, even with Suzy around I thought Lee Yoo Bi would buckle under the weight of her third drama being a high profile sageuk. It didn’t help when she showed up at the press conference looking like a deer in headlights, utterly terrified and nervous. Then the drama premiered and the rest is history – GFB may have been terrible on many levels but Lee Yoo Bi’s performance as Chung Jo was the best thing about it IMO. She was the only one who did more with her character and made it feel raw and infused with feeling. Since the drama wrapped she’s been giving media interviews left and right and I’ve culled a fresh-faced picture from each newspaper interview to create a pretty collage tableau of the up-and-coming Lee Yoo Bi. I hope GFB wasn’t an anomaly for her, I’m expecting big things from this rising new find.


Lee Yoo Bi Garners Praise and Media Attention After Breakout Performance in Gu Family Book — 22 Comments

  1. What I find weird is that had she debuted 10 or so years ago, she would already have multiple dramas under her belt as a lead (which is how people like Song Hye Kyo, Kim Tae Hee, et al broke through despite being mediocre actresses in the beginning)

    It seems like the industry is now obsessed with infantilizing young actresses instead of actually giving them a shot at stardom.

    • The funny thing is that her debut actually shows that she isn’t a mediocre actress at all. It might have been just a sitcom and she’s working her way up from there, but there’s ample evidence of talent. She’s definitely more in the league of the Son Ye-jin/Gong Hyo-jins of the kdrama world than the Song Hye-kyos and Kim Tae Hees.

      • ^ when I say the above, I meant that I can see her getting to where GHJ/SYJ are today, if she chooses well – I don’t mean she is already at their level, just that talent-wise, she is where they were at her age.

      • @ pogo, I saw a lot of potential in her… it just makes me super frustrated at an environment where people like Lee Yoo Bi, Lee Se Young, and Park Eun Bin aren’t judged to be… mature? compelling? popular?… enough to anchor miniseries.

  2. I loved her as Chung Jo! She was so awesome and her chemistry with LSG was pretty amazing. I think GFB would do her very very well since irrelevant of what people online think, the show is a huge huge success. In terms of ratings, popularity and just general public opinion – in korea. It’s the second highest rated show (average) for weekdays this year out of all completed shows. So yea… Can’t imagine it will do her anything but good.

    Personally, I loved her acting only second to Seung-gi. But he’s the lead, and overly amazing at that. She was better than suzy although I hoped her character was better developed in the latter half. Anyway, I’m definitely keeping an eye on her upcoming projects.

  3. I haven’t read the thread yet, however I LOVED her in GFB and I am glad (for her) that she is getting some praise and recognition. She was excellent and had wonderful chemistry with LSG. That scene, when she grabbed his arm, and he looked into her eyes,and then kissed her on the forehead, was my favorite scene with both. I hope she will have more opportunities to be in dramas that show how talented and hard working she is, and that she will make her way to being a lead herself, she would deserve to be one.

  4. She annoyed the heck out of me in NG but her character was really bad there as well. But seriously she was amazing in GFB, she had great chemistry with Seung Gi and I was always far more excited for her scenes then Suzy’s.
    Hopefully she’ll keep getting good roles, sometimes a good supporting role can be better then a bad leading role.

  5. Thought she went beyond the call of duty in GFB. Shame the drama didn’t do the role justice, among the many other things it didn’t manage to do like end properly.

  6. Thankfully I bypassed the general mediocrity of GFB by dropping it early on, but I did note her improvement after NG. She definitely outshined Suzy, and she has less experience than her (and far more natural talent for acting). I hope she goes places, we really need more rising younger actresses in kdramaland :’).

  7. So agree with you, koala! I thought she was the best thing about GFB, and far outshone Suzy when it came to acting. I even thought she did better than LSG; he seemed to be Trying so hard to make it all work, while she seemed very natural. I hope this leads to more work for her in the future, and I would hope that she no longer has to play second lead to some cute but talentless idol.

    • Lol, I felt the same way. LSG has the talents but he sometimes tries too hard. I guess the reason why he was fantastic in king2hearts was because although he was under the pressure of veteran actors and actresses, he didn’t have the burden of carrying the show since everyone was soo good, production crew included.

  8. Yeah! I agree she was way better than Suzy, it seems I am not the only one who was excited to watch every ep of GFB because of her. ….I am not telling Suzy us bad, she was good too! I I wish to see Lee Yoo bi in lead role in her next project. Now I like her after Kim Yoo Jung.

  9. She and Chung-jo were the unexpected gems in the muck that was that drama (and a huge part of the credit for that should go to her, since a character like that in the hands of a less capable actress could easily become Standard Second Female Lead). She really stepped up to the plate, but she’s too good to remain stuck in second lead for long – I hope she has her lead role breakout soon.

    And after watching Vampire Idol, I really look forward to her getting a lead role in something good soon – that show was terrible and cracky, but she had great chemistry with Kim Woo-bin and proved she’s got comedy chops to match her drama chops (yay versatility!). It’s actually a better showcase of her abilities than Nice Guy was.

  10. I loved her in the drama, so glad she’s getting the recognition she deserves. I never paid too much attention to her in nice guy, but she was great here!It’s such as waste that they killed off all the potential with her character. All her potential, those ambitions and goals were tossed aside for seunggi and suzy to play cute, some useless japanese plot, and for the parents. GFB was pretty decent in the beginning, then everything just gone bad, and I dropped it around episode 19 or 20. I guess I’m glad I did after reading about that ending.

  11. I was just complaining about this poor girl having to act as second fiddle to Suzy in GFB. . .

    kim yoo bi. . .who we can clearly tell is not the one with insider contacts. . .suzy *cough* suzy

    whatever the unfairness of her GFB casting (I thought so any way.) I suppose it paid off with jyp media playing Suzy and thus GFB. . .for a moment I thought she is gonna get overshadowed by *the suzy* media play

  12. I just remember skimming the recaps on DB and having lee yoo bi stick out the most from the screenshots. Her emotions really got across and her acting was stellar, from the first few episodes I saw.

  13. I love her mother Kyun Mi Ri! I liked Lee Yo Bi before but now I hope all the best for her. Yes, primarily because I love Kyun Mi Ri.

  14. She reminds me a little of Jung so Min, who really leaves an impression acting-wise in Bad Guy and playful kiss

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