Four Korean stars to watch in 2015

Four Korean stars to watch in 2015
K-pop boy band EXO perform during the Opening Ceremony of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 19, 2014.

With his squealing fans and devilish good looks, Kim Soo-hyun was the hottest star in Korea's entertainment scene in 2014.

As he mulls a comeback after last year's insanely popular TV series "My Love from the Star," the actor lands on top of The Korea Herald's list of stars to watch in 2015.

In the K-pop scene, the formidable popularity of EXO, the brainchild of K-pop mogul and SM Entertainment chairman Lee Soo-man, is expected to grow, earning the boys another spot on the list.

Based on a survey of 80 experts, observers and entertainment industry insiders, conducted by The Herald Business, the sister paper of The Korea Herald, here are the four stars whose name you will be hearing a lot throughout the year.

What's next for Kim Soo-hyun?

After a flurry of leading roles in hit TV dramas "Dream High," "Moon Embracing the Sun," and the wildly successful "My Love from the Star," Kim has established himself as arguably the most sought-after actor under 30 in South Korea.

His most recent role as the charmingly cynical undercover alien Do Min-joon alongside Jun Ji-hyun, who plays the bewitching actress Chun Song-yi, cemented his celebrity status not only nationwide but also overseas.

Following the show's explosive success abroad, Kim spent a large part of 2014 touring Asia to meet fans.

The actor wrapped up his lucrative year by winning Best Actor at the SBS Drama Awards.

Ten months after his last role, however, Kim is yet to announce his next big project.

Though considered for upcoming TV shows "A Scholar Walks the Night" and "Doctor Frankenstein," he ended up declining both parts.

Observers say that 2015 will be a pivotal year in shaping the remainder of the actor's career.

Kim's next move will be to follow up on his meteoric rise and carefully select what may be his last work before his mandatory military service.

Yim Si-wan: from K-pop idol to actor

Originally a member of 9-member boy band Z:EA, Yim Si-wan first demonstrated his flair for acting in a supporting role in "Moon Embracing the Sun."

In 2014, however, Yim fully came into his own and enjoyed massive popularity when he took up the lead in the critically and publically acclaimed tvN drama "Misaeng (Incomplete Life)."

Portraying the struggles of Jang Geu-rae, a meek but hardworking employee in a fiercely competitive work environment, Yim won over the sympathies of the typical office worker in modern Korea.

Amid a flood of offers, Yim, too, is said to be reviewing his options before deciding on his next role.

EXO readies for comeback

Setting themselves apart in the thick of idol bands that flood the K-pop scene in ever greater numbers, group EXO enjoyed outstanding popularity both in Korea and overseas.

According to German music ranking company Media Traffic, EXO's single "Overdose" sold more than 447,000 copies across the globe, a significant achievement in today's grim record market.

While EXO did go through a rough patch last year with two Chinese members, Kris and Luhan, leaving the group, the remaining 10 were able to dispel fans' worries by delivering an immaculate performance and announcing their comeback for 2015 in December. No further details of the comeback have been released.

Lee Byung-hun's Hollywood foray

Mired in a scandal involving an extra-marital fling and an alleged blackmailing attempt, Lee Byung-hun had a difficult 2014.

Even amid such domestic entanglement, experts anticipate Lee's further rise abroad.

Lee is among the few Korean stars to have reaped some success in Hollywood, starring in the "G.I. Joe" films as ninja assassin Storm Shadow.

Coming up this year is "Terminator: Genisys" where Lee plays the shape-shifting robot assassin T-1000 alongside worldwide celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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