Go Soo makes a double comeback
It’s been a while since Go Soo has been seen onscreen — he had drama roles in 2005’s Marrying a Millionaire and Green Rose, but he has taken his time returning to acting after his army discharge. Now he has not one but two new projects, one film and one drama, and suddenly press is overflowing about him as he promotes both.
First is the recently released dark thriller Baekyahaeng (Into the White Night), which co-stars Sohn Ye-jin. Coming soon is his drama comeback vehicle, Will It Snow On Christmas?, a melodrama co-starring Han Ye-seul that takes over You’re Beautiful‘s Wednesday-Thursday timeslot next week.
Here are a few interviews with the actor about his two new roles. First, from Asia Economy:
It has already been a year and six months since Go Soo was discharged from the army. He could have made his television or movie comeback right away, but the first thing he chose to do was theater. He did the play The Return of President Eom.
“I’d thought of doing theater for a long time. As I went through army life, I became acquainted with some people in the performance unit, and as we talked with each other, I wanted to try theater. I wanted to try it after my military discharge, so I decided that I would definitely do a play first, then a film or drama afterward.”
Go Soo explains that the reason he did theater wasn’t because he was expecting to improve his acting skills, but because he liked doing theater. He liked that people of different styles and ideas and personalities would come together for a project and have debates and discussions. What he learned through that was sincerity. Of course, he also learned how to enjoy drinking.
“My tolerance is about half a bottle of soju. I didn’t originally drink much, or like drinking. But as I became friends with the theater group, I began to enjoy drinking. Before that, I hadn’t drunk beer at all. I still can’t drink very much, but I enjoy drinking gatherings. My drinking habits? I just sleep.”
If you aren’t familiar with the plot of Baekyahaeng, here’s more info. In a nutshell, two teenagers commit murder and decide to separate until the statute of limitations is over. Over the years, they take vastly divergent paths as their love remains strong: the girl grows up in the “light” as an upstanding person, while the boy grows into the “dark.”
With Sohn Ye-jin of Baekyahaeng
Go Soo was able to act in close proximity to audiences in the theater, and now returns in a film. It’s a movie based on famous Japanese writer Higashino Keigo’s novel Byakuyako. Director Kang Woo-seok stepped in as producer and the other lead roles were filled by Sohn Ye-jin and Han Seok-kyu. It’s the story of a man who experiences a tragic incident with the woman he loves and has to live in darkness for her sake, and the detective in pursuit of both of them.
“At first, when I saw the screenplay, I didn’t know it was based on an original work. I found out later that there was a novel and a drama and wondered if I should see them. After discussing it with the director, we decided that if I could understand the character without reading the novel or watching the drama, it was fine not to.”
The male lead of Baekyahaeng is by no means an easy character to act. That’s one of the reasons Go Soo was attracted to this film. He said, “I’m drawn to this wretched man whose life direction is completely changed through tragic fate after one event.” His character in the movie Some was also like that.
Baekyahaeng is his first film in five years, since Some. Go Soo won an award for outstanding new actor at the Daejong Awards for Some, but the movie was a flop at the box office. Hearing the words “box office failure,” he murmurs to himself, “So that’s how they remember that movie. There are things you can’t control no matter how hard you work, so I don’t feel guilty or upset about it,” he added.
At some point, this man who seemed merely in his twenties has already turned 32 [or 31 by Western standards]. Asked how thirtysomething Go Soo is different from twentysomething Go Soo, he said, “I think I’ve changed a lot through time and experience. I take longer to deliberate about a project, and I think the range of my acting expressions has broadened.” In contrast to his twenties when he just made sure to work hard, now he explains that he thinks more seriously about the details and works to bring sincerity to his acting. These days, he’s broadened and deepened.
In character for Will It Snow On Christmas?
From an interview with Hankook Ilbo:
You seem much thinner than before you left for military service.
“After coming back from the army, I lost weight. Back then, I was in the lower 70kg range, but I’ve dropped about 4kg.”
Did you lose weight on purpose?
“I usually watch what I eat and work out regularly. Rather than purposely trying to lose weight, I lost the weight naturally after living like the character Johan in Baekyahaeng. Johan lives in the darkness to allow the woman he loves to live in the light. After living with his emotions, I found that I couldn’t eat till I was full.”
Your hiatus after getting released from military service was long.
“I really wanted to stand on the theater stage. After I was released, I appeared in the play The Return of President Eom through the recommendation of Jo Jae-hyun sunbae. It was a truly good opportunity I won’t have again. Aside from that, there were a few projects I was preparing for, but last year was the worst slump for the Korean film industry, so sadly they were discontinued.”
Why did you decide to do Baekyahaeng?
“While I was on hiatus, I read a lot of scripts, but only one caught my eye. Johan and Mi-ho (Sohn Ye-jin) are two people who love each other but unable to meet. The situation itself seemed fresh, and I liked this character who gives everything for the woman he loves and even commits murder. I thought a lot about how to express this complicated character when there wasn’t a lot of dialogue, and I felt a desire to take it on. I really wanted the part.”
I hear that you didn’t leave your house and didn’t see sunlight while you filmed.
“Rather than explaining his life through acting the part, I devoted myself to his life. I didn’t try to use acting tricks or techniques. I thought that if I lived like him, his point of view and feelings would be revealed. The staff members and other actors deliberately gave me space. The director said, ‘Just stay away and focus on the emotions.'”
How do you feel about working with Han Seok-kyu and Sohn Ye-jin?
“I’ve liked both actors for a while. This is my second film, and I learned so many things on the set. I felt my inadequacies strongly. Han Seok-kyu looked after everyone on the set to make sure everyone could work together comfortably. Sohn Ye-jin knew so well what she had to do in front of the camera. I’m lacking in those areas.”
Have you changed your ideas about acting after army service?
“I graduated from grad school this August, and I had to shed some tears over acting. Everyone grows up in different environments and has different ideas about it, but I didn’t have the answer for what acting was. Even now, I’m still working it out. In the past, I put my desire and will first and thought I could just work hard, but now I want to act with more organized preparation.”
You’re working with Han Ye-seul in the SBS drama Will It Snow On Christmas? You’re another beautiful star couple.
“I’ve been blessed with co-stars like Kim Ha-neul in Piano, Kim Hee-sun in My Fair Lady, Kim Hyun-joo in Marrying a Millionaire. And now Sohn Ye-jin in Baekyahaeng. I haven’t acted in a conventional melodrama before, but I’m really looking forward to this since it’s a drama with I’m Sorry, I Love You‘s writer Lee Kyung-hee. I’ll work hard so Han Ye-seul and I can be good influences on each other.”
With Han Ye-seul for Will It Snow On Christmas?
Baekyahaeng opened in theaters on November 19. Will It Snow on Christmas? will premiere on SBS on December 2.