Thanks to CNN’s Anna Coren, the world got to know Korean superstar Gong Yoo better when he bared more of himself in a no-holds-barred interview on the network’s Talk Asia program. The star of Coffee Prince, the surprise huge hit Train to Busan (his birthplace) and Goblin (now airing weeknights on ABS-CBN after A Love To Last and before Bandila) talked about a wide range of topics — including fame and fortune, his fans, Hollywood, being a good kisser, what he would do when the adulation died down, and the volatile situation in the Korean Peninsula.
Anna Coren graciously brought televiewers inside Gong Yoo, turning 38 on July 10, through an English interpreter.
= On becoming an actor: “I never really dreamed of being an actor…but I got interested in the art of expression. I started to think that I could be an actor but I didn’t have the confidence.”
= On role models: “I don’t get inspired by any particular people; I am quite open to everything whether it’s good or bad inspiration. I watch a lot of movies whether Korean or Hollywood. I try to feel how the actors act in their films. Everyone has his own thing and that’s probably why I don’t have a particular person to look up to…Oh, speaking of inspiration, I do like Ryan Gosling who was very good in Blue Valentine, with Michelle Williams, directed by Derek Cianfrance. Directors inspire me more than actors (do).”
= On losing himself in front of the camera: “When a lot of people are looking at me, there are moments that I can’t let go because of the pressure. It’s something that an actor has to endure when you are facing the public as a celebrity…so why not become a character in a drama? (In front of the camera) I just focus on my character instead of myself…”
= On dealing with fame: “I can’t help but be careful…(With fame), there’s something that you gain and there’s something that you lose. I want to separate my life as an actor from my personal life. I know that it may be hard for people to accept it.” (Recalling an experience in Australia where Asian fans mobbed him.) “Going out of a restaurant, I was surrounded by fans. They pulled at my clothes. I knew that they were happy to see me so I had to face them with a smiling face.”
= On, as fans claim he is, being a good kisser (he has lots of kissing scenes in Goblin): “I don’t know that, hahaha!!! It seems that I kiss well but I don’t know if I’m a good kisser.”
Gong Yoo being interviewed by Anna Coren on CNN’s Talk Asia: ‘I want to separate my life as an actor from my personal life.’
= On having served two years in the military, requirement of every male Korean (recent visitor Kim Soo-hyun, 29, will start his two-year stint in the military next year): “It was a wonderful experience. It was not a matter of choice; it was a responsibility. At first, they were saying, ‘Oh, the Coffee Prince,’ and then they asked for my autograph. But after a while, we were bonding like ordinary people.”
= On the volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula: “As a Korean born in South Korea, I feel nervous like everybody else. It’s like a time bomb and you don’t know when it will explode, like a volcano and you don’t know when it’s going to erupt. And like everybody else, I wish that things would be settled peacefully.”
= On penetrating Hollywood: “No, I don’t have any aspiration to go to Hollywood but if that opportunity comes naturally, there’s no reason not to work in Hollywood with directors like (Tom) Cruise or any director from overseas.” (And if not acting anymore, he’d love to direct a movie.) “Hollywood has a massive capital and I envy that. Normally, a movie tells a message that a director wants to tell. I want to do that…getting my message out without being an actor but a director.”
= On the time when the adulation would have died down: “I think about that all the time…when people don’t look for me anymore, when people don’t find me attractive anymore, when people don’t find me interesting anymore. But it’s hard to make a decision when I’m still enjoying it. It’s not about money, it’s not about honor, it’s about the fans who have been supporting me. It’s the fans who can answer those questions.”
(Reminder: For the full interview, watch for the replays on CNN’s Talk Asia on June 10 at 10:30 a.m. and June 17 at 10 a.m.)
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