Blackpink is among the biggest K-pop acts in the world right now, and the members of this all-female YG Entertainment quartet have been making a nonstop flurry of headlines lately thanks to everything from the group’s recent comeback to their Born Pink World Tour — as well as the imminent acting debut on HBO of singer and rapper Jennie Kim.
The latter is an example of how, in addition to their work within the context of the group, the individual members of Blackpink have also been pursuing various solo projects, including Jennie (whose music video for her song Solo, for example, is closing in on 900 million views on YouTube). Jennie is also coming to millions of TV screens soon, thanks to her role in HBO’s upcoming drama The Idol, co-created by The Weeknd and set against the backdrop of the glitzy, cutthroat music industry.
Jennie Kim in HBO’s The Idol
Here’s HBO’s logline for the show: “The Idol, set against the backdrop of the music industry, centers on a self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult, who develops a complicated relationship with an up-and-coming pop idol.”
In addition to The Weeknd, co-creators include Sam Levinson (creator of another HBO hit series, Euphoria), and Reza Fahim. Francesca Orsi, HBO Programming executive president, has described the show as “unlike anything HBO had ever done before.”
HBO hasn’t released an official date for when the show will debut, but it’s reportedly coming in June. As for Jennie, the network also hasn’t clearly spelled out the details of the character she’s playing — although, based on the teasers HBO has released so far, Jennie seems like she’ll be part of what’s being described as a “cult of popstar wannabes” whose leader is played by The Weeknd.
Also, we can’t emphasize this enough: Blackpink is a big enough group — with multiple music videos on YouTube, for example, that have surpassed 1 billion views — that it will also be interesting to see if Jennie’s turn at acting sparks a similar trend among her fellow K-pop artists here in the US. There’s definitely a market here that can’t get enough of what Korea’s K-pop industry is selling.
Another Blackpink acting debut
Jennie, by the way, isn’t even the only member of Blackpink to have made a major acting debut.
Jisoo, the oldest member of the group, in late 2021 starred in the historical espionage K-drama thriller Snowdrop, all 16 episodes of which are available to stream on Disney Plus. Directed by Jo Hyun-tak and released in early 2022 in the US, here’s how Disney’s streamer describes the series (which stirred up a bit of controversy in South Korea):
“When a blood-soaked man (Jung Hae-In) bursts into the dormitory of a women’s university in Seoul, Korea, Yeong-ro (Jisoo) will go against her better judgment and risk being expelled to hide the man from his attackers and tend to his wounds. Unbeknownst to Yeong-ro, the man has a harrowing secret that threatens to put her friends’ and family’s safety at risk, and the two young lovers will have to work together to overcome the obstacles.”
Netflix also has a documentary about Blackpink available to stream, 2020’s Blackpink: Light Up the Sky.
Directed by Caroline Suh, that film gets up close and personal with all four members of the group. Including, per Netflix: “Jisoo, the whip-smart unnie (“big sister”) of the group with a quirky sense of humor; Jennie, the rapper whose fierce onstage persona contrasts with her soft-spoken nature; Rosé, the dulcet-voiced Australian coming into her own as a singer-songwriter; and Lisa, the dancing queen whose spark plug personality never fails to make her bandmates laugh.”