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Go Soo: “I didn’t know this role would be this painful”
by | January 12, 2010 | 143 Comments

You’d be hard-pressed to watch SBS’s Will It Snow For Christmas without falling under lead actor Go Soo‘s spell. Even if you counted yourself a fan before this drama premiered last month, there’s something about his presence in this show that commands attention, and fans are definitely taking notice. Here’s a recent interview with Go Soo — enjoy!

Popularity through the Kang-jin character of SBS’s Will It Snow For Christmas?

There’s a saying that if you want to make it big in the entertainment industry, you need a pure, clear gaze.

In this frigid winter with temperatures falling below 10 degrees, a pure, brilliant gaze struck the television airwaves, as though with a loud “clank.” Netizens have coined several nicknames for the owner of this stare, responding fervently to the source of their “Go Soo flu,” “Go Soo pangs,” “Go-vid,” “Go-neu-nim.”

Go Soo pangs refers to that painful longing he evokes in fans, while Go-vid is derived from David (as in Michaelangelo’s), and Go-neu-nim is my personal favorite since it’s absolutely ridiculous, combining his name with the word for God (ha-neu-nim). It’s equivalent to saying “God-Soo.”

Go Soo, who plays the lead in SBS’s Wednesday-Thursday drama Will It Snow For Christmas, is capturing the hearts of women viewers with his expressions and gazes that convey deep sadness and also endless reflection.

“Kang-jin is by nature very appealing. And good-looking. Haha, I’m sorry. He’s clean, upright, and passionate. He also has a talented gift for architectural design. The female viewers like seeing Kang-jin treating Ji-wan well.”

Of course, the Kang-jin character himself is handsome and cool. But it’s because Kang-jin met Go Soo that he shines. Formerly thin and of slight build, Go Soo used to look delicate, but after coming back from military service and entering his thirties [he’s 31], he has shed his previous image. He has filled out his build and upgraded his image with acting that has matured, from a good-looking pure youth to a trustworthy, lovely man.

“You could say that in the past, I asserted my intent first, but now I deliberate endlessly about how I can best express the conditions that have been given to me. Also, in the past I used to agonize over whether this was the right path for me, but last year I felt that acting is really my path. If I’ve changed, it’s because of that.”

The title Will It Snow For Christmas? gives a bright feeling, but the plot is heartbreaking. With dramas like I’m Sorry, I Love You, A Love To Kill, and Thank You, writer Lee Kyung-hee has always plucked the heartstrings, and Kang-jin and Ji-wan’s painful love is the same way.

“I liked that Kang-jin isn’t a character who is only soft and warm with women, and I was drawn to what he went through in his adolescence. I wanted to try a drama that wasn’t easy on a fundamental level, that was a little dark and serious. But I didn’t know it would be this painful. The further we get in the drama, the more painful it becomes. I didn’t know it would be this difficult.”

Growing up with a mother who is a cafe hostess and making it to the elite ranks, Kang-jin has a first love in his high school days, Ji-wan, who leaves suddenly. Unable to forget her, they have a fateful reunion a decade later. However, the reason for Ji-wan’s departure is because her brother died in the river after diving in to retrieve Kang-jin’s lost pendant. Although Kang-jin finds the Ji-wan he’d dreamed of finding, discovering this tragic truth torments him.

“Kang-jin reunites with Ji-wan after a lot of difficulty, but soon afterward he makes the painful realization that he is a source of pain for Ji-wan, and tries to distance himself from her. They confirm their love again in the January 7 episode (#10), but… you’ll have to watch the future episodes to find out what happens. [Laughs]”

He’s introverted. He’s quiet and thoughtful. He’s also an upright man. Within a loud, boisterous entertainment industry, he has a personality that makes it easy to be hurt.

“Before and after my military service, whenever I took a break from work, I deliberated over whether I had to continue acting. When I struggled with work, I even thought that this actor’s job was too much for me to handle. I thought, do I really have to go back there again and live that frantic life and lose myself? But I decided to do it to support myself. In the past, I found it a burden just being in the spotlight, but now I accept it, and I’m trying to enjoy it.”

In the past, he has mostly taken on characters who carry the weight of life on their shoulders, such as in Piano (2001), The Age of Innocence (2002), When a Man Loves a Woman (2004), and Green Rose (2005). Following his army discharge, he has dived into deeply shadowed acting with the film Into the White Night and this drama.

However, in his rookie days, he showed his oddball side in sitcoms like Jump, Family Honor, and Nonstop. Even now, although he can be cold, sometimes he tosses out a joke and provokes a laugh.

“I still pursue roles that are a bit difficult emotionally. Of course, upbeat acting is also difficult, but right now I keep feeling drawn to roles where I’m driven to the edge of a cliff. I did comedy a lot in my early debut days. I think I’ll do it again a while later.”

He said of acting, “The process of creating a character is interesting, and I like focusing on something in order to do it. I enjoy being able to go all-in to make a character.”

But he finds it awkward to call himself an “actor.”

There are several different words in Korean to describe an actor or performer. First, there’s “talent” (텔런트), which is a general word to describe a person who acts or appears on television as an entertainer. Then there’s “yeon-ki-ja” (연기자), which literally means “one who acts.” You can act (yeon-ki), but to paraphrase the great Tyra herself, you can do the verb (to act) without being the noun (Actor). One doesn’t earn the distinction of being a Serious Actor (“bae-woo,” or 배우) without proving oneself; a distinguished minority can lay claim to that word, such as Song Kang-ho, Sol Kyung-gu, Jeon Do-yeon, Go Hyun-jung… This is the word (bae-woo) that Go Soo uses here.

“An ‘actor’ is a path I’d like to take but can’t. I think it’ll be difficult in the future as well. What I consider to be an actor holds a very significant meaning for me. Could I actually become a serious actor? I’m just doing my best with the acting that has been given to me.”

(Also, MINE! Hahaha. You’ll never beat me to it.)

 
Via Yonhap News

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143 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. xiaoSxin

    JB is right. watching this drama would really make you love Go Soo and Kang Jin at the same time. Like it’s hard to separate the two.

  2. deeta

    Dang, Go Soo looks positively delectable in that first shot.

    Since you already called dibs on Yoon Kyesang, Lee Jungjae, and even Kang Jihwan, this one is mine!

  3. samsooki

    jb, nobody beats you to it because the laws of quantum mechanics in this universe act such that time is linear in dramabeans world, and so that it is literally impossible, both physically and metaphorically, to claim MINE before you do, since you have to post first, before comments are possible.

    That’s like saying that you are going fishing to catch fish, and then buying a fish from the supermarket, and then cooking it with olive oil, capers and abit of lemon zest. Where’s the sport??? Where’s the competitive fire?

    I say, let Go Soo be up for grabs!

    Let others have a chance to win Go Soo for themselves.

    I wouldn’t mind filling my stable of actors with the likes of Go Soo, having already picked up Binnie and my KJH.

    :D

  4. javabeans

    sorry dude, nobody said the game had to be FUN! it’s okay if there’s no competitive fire because well, then i’d have to deal with the competition! v^_^v

    (still mine)

    i mean, c’mon, i’m not even jumping into the fray for kiddos like Yoo Seung-ho, Kim Bum, Lee Min-ho, or even Jung Il-woo. i’d say i’m making a sacrifice, really.

  5. momosan

    @samsooki

    You think she isn’t going to notice you tried to slip KJH out the door while she was watching Go Soo? I think not!

    Even I am being sucked into this orbit by the Go Soo photos. That’s one charming charming looking man.

  6. Biscuit

    @Samsooki: You already have two and you want Go Soooo!?

    Don’t be too greedy, leave some for the poor people who have none -cough- :)

    Someday I’m gonna find a good-looking guy that’s not popular (yet) and claim him “MINE”. Therefore when he does get popular and everyone wants to claim him, I’ve already stamped “MINE” a long, long, long time ago.

    -muahahahaa-

    @JB: hmm… in this community, it seems no one really goes for the “younger” ones. But in few years when they’ve all matured beautifully, they will be on the “most wanted” list.


    *sigh* I guess it’s time to go to the store and buy a box of tissues… it’s been confirmed that WISC will get more serious…

    I think Go Soo will undoubtedly make it to the top star status, if he wants to reach that status. He could probably get there without trying hard.

    Btw, at what level is Go Soo’s popularity?

  7. samsooki

    @momo,

    gaaah…. I feel like poor Yusin in Queen Seondeok’s court. Nobody trusts me and everybody spies on me.

    Yusin was the good guy!

  8. langdon813

    Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Better than Campbells Soup.

    Plus, he’s all TORTURED, which is infinitely more interesting. And hot.

  9. momosan

    @samsooki

    Still trying to claim that you are protecting KJH from jb and hjkomo? Did that work for Yushin? No – it got him tossed into jail by homeland security……

  10. 10 samsooki

    @momo,

    That’s right, i’m a tragic figure! But it’s always about poor bidam. What about poor yushin?

    Queen javabeans has me trussed up and being interrogated and stuff. But I’m loyal….. gaaaaah….

  11. 11 Monika

    im so curious what’s gonna happen tmr. oh my how much i wished it ended like that with the kiss last week.

    he’s like 15 years older than me but oh yeah….

  12. 12 su-pah

    Excellent, brilliant insight into the man that is Go-Soo.
    Whyyyy must be so thoughtful, even here? Oh stop! My beating heart.

    Hahaha! I second Samsooki!

  13. 13 Stylish~

    hahaha who needs kiddos when we have those men!!

    ehm anyhow.. is the drama any good?
    although i saw the trailer but still am not attracted to the drama.. i feel Go Soo is the best thing in it

  14. 14 hula87

    the eyes my god the eyes..
    honest to god I watch this drama just because of his eyes
    how can they be so soft and longing yet masculine and intense
    his gaze in the second picture just tore me apart and melt my heart away

    dear all can I just claim his eyes as MINE??

  15. 15 smiles

    I’ve not been watching this drama, I think due to some misguided loyalty to you’re beautiful I think – my thinking, being devastated that you’re beautiful wasn’t extended and this replaced it. Yeah, I know it don’t make sense that, in fact it’s completely and utterly illogical I can’t even defend my thought process – but hey ho…

    Anyway, I’ve been searching in vain for a good drama then, I saw this line “You’d be hard-pressed to watch SBS’s Will It Snow For Christmas without falling under lead actor Go Soo’s spell” and I have to admit that pip my interest – I’m in need a little intensity injected in to my drama viewing pleasure and I have to admit the guy in the picture is really foxy, so I think I’ll give it a go. God I am so shallow!

  16. 16 diane

    Thank you for posting this. So, more pain is on the way. Oh boy.

    I love all the nicknames he has been given! The first and last photos are my favorites. What a smile!

    Yep, he makes me drool.

  17. 17 Sonam

    I really prefer it when he’s not over accessorized. I don’t know any Korean actor who can make a plain old white shirt look so hot.
    I believe him when he says he found being in the spotlight so difficult. I have noticed he gets this quizzical look on his face whenever he has to pose for the cameras. That makes make even more attractive.

  18. 18 anjell

    woaahhhhhhh!!!!! he’s definitely one of the hottest korean actors ever!!!!! his gaze is melting…. as well as his smile…his body… errr…. i think i should stop now ;)

  19. 19 hjkomo

    Go-neu-nim…LOL :P

    Funny, though…..I picture Samsooki a bit more like Ha Jong…keke…. ;)

  20. 20 samsooki

    @20 –

    (roaring with laughter) omg no!

  21. 21 snowanh

    Regardless Go Soo is only 6 months older than my son….I still can say” Damn Hot”. To me, he is quite slim compare to few years back but much more in shape…His eyes …oh almost as good as LBH’s.
    JB, thanks for sharing him with us…I can’t wait for tomorrow…my kleenex box is nearby….

  22. 22 Martha

    How well the Korean word for God (Go neu nim) translates into English channelled through this Antinoos of the East! I still marvel at the three way linguistic affinity. God-Soo shall henceforth God-Soo be. He has quickly become the third god of my idolatry -see, I claim no ownership of him, for such things still smell of the finite world- in an expanding pantheon that seems to be exclusively populated by Korean actors. What is an English bumpkin to do?

    P.S. Excuse my ignorance but who is behind the initials KJH?

  23. 23 ockoala

    Go Soo. Sigh. This was a very lovely interview, thanks for posting it, JB. I love his outlook on acting, beyond just a drop-dead gorgeous man’s man type of face, he’s dedicated to his craft, and I really appreciate that. It’s such a pleasure watching his dramas, because his acting is very genuine and he really connects with his character so it’s believable no matter what silly things his character has to do.

    Can’t wait to see what else he’s gonna do in the future, and for me, he’s really the heart and soul of WISFC. And the face! Reowr. Yup, he’s all yours, JB, as long as I can admire and possibly stroke a few times when you let him out to play.

    @ Martha

    KJH stands for……drum roll……the object of the most fiercely fought battle (or non-battle) in the history of dramabeans…….Kang Ji-hwan (also known as Hong Gil Dong).

    There is also KJH the second – the cute choco-abs himself Kim Ji-hoon (currently in Wish upon a Star).

  24. 24 dramaaaa

    omg. that first pic is gorgeous. effff.

  25. 25 observer

    @3

    samsooki, aren’t you a guy?

  26. 26 lovesdramas =)

    You all is soo cute & funny. Love reading the comments. And thanks JB for this article. Tough life as an actor.

    I’m glad that I have liked Go Soo before this drama, when I first saw him in GR with LDH. I didn’t love him in Millionaire one. But I was very moved by GR – although it’s not one of my favorites he stuck out in the series for me. I like him here in Snow a lot too – I honestly didn’t remember him being that good! LOL

    I too like the older more mature crowd… not into the kiddos yet.

  27. 27 vis

    Ohhh! Thanks javabeans for translating that lovely interview, giving us an insight into the awesome actor Go Soo! I admit that I wasn’t a fan, but I got totally converted once I started watching this show <3 <3 <3

    LOL! I'm having a blast reading all the comments XD

    @25: Hahahah, my thought exactly! But of course that doesn't mean Samsooki can't have his favourites among the male actors! Especially when they’re literally oozing charisma and soulfullness ^o^

  28. 28 samsooki

    @25 observer –

    Sure, I’m a guy, but I view them like action figures.

    I used to collect Robotech action figures, GI Joe action figures, and Starwars death star / millenium falcon + action figures. So this is nothing new.

    HOWEVER.

    It has to be said that when I was growing up, I really didn’t think I was Asian or Korean-American or anything. I thought I was… well, white. I grew up in the finest traditions of New England private schooling, and by the time I got to college, I didn’t differentiate myself in anyway, and I thought minorities were just everybody other than me and white people. This caused a lot of confusion when I took my first freshman class on Urban Planning and Development (an adv. economics tutorial class) and I referred myself as being a non-minority and someone raised their hand and asked me if it weren’t true that I was asian… and I was like, ‘holy crap, I’m not white, am i…” lol.

    Anyhoo, one of the biggest issues that I had growing up was that there were no such things as male asian role models. The closest thing there was to an asian role model was…. bruce lee… Anyway, this meant that asian guys like myself didn’t know what we should look like, didn’t know what was cool or not cool, didn’t know how to dress or talk or act. We either grew up subconsciously thinking that we were white, or, we subconsciously looked down on ourselves.

    It was quite a shock to me, then, to see someone like Russell Wong (am I dating myself? lol) be seen as desireable. And up until, like, last year, there were hardly any asian males in television or the movies that weren’t playing ninjas or kungfu fighters (World Series of Poker gamblers, notwithstanding, of course). Now there are more, but you gotta know, I pretty much lived my whole life without asian male role models, and especially korean male role models. I always thought of korean-american guys as being skinny nerds with glasses who spent all of their time in the science lab. it was not what I wanted to be like.

    Anyway, with that background, starting in 2009, when I first started watching k-dramas, I learned that korean males could be astonishingly good looking, starting with the very first k-drama i ever saw, MNIKSS, with hyun bin (oh, you better believe, MINE).

    That’s why I got binnie and KJH in my collector’s pouch.

    That’s why javabeans should gimme a fair shot at Go Soo as well.

    And that’s why I should also get a shot at Jang Hyuk maybe, but I’m not pressing my luck with all the chunojjumas there are out there.

    :D

  29. 29 momosan

    @samsooki

    You weren’t a Paulie or ::shudder:: an Andy were you?

    (an Exie asking….)

  30. 30 samsooki

    @29 momosan –

    LOL. Nope. But we played those schools regularly. Ahh, the memories of being the only asian-looking white guy…

  31. 31 Penn

    LOL…Samsooki, you are so metrosexual. I’m glad you have discovered Korean drama because I sure enjoy reading your male insight.

    Thank you JB for translating this article. This is my first Go Soo drama. In my book, he is definitely a serious actor (bae-woo). Damn, he is one fine looking eye candy!

  32. 32 myron

    @samsooki…
    now i’m more confused.:(..anyway i love reading your comments..

  33. 33 momosan

    Ah! Well, we’re still good then! We probably played your school. 8-) It was a bit of a utopian environment – the only thing that really mattered was brains and talent – lots of pressure to use those, though.

  34. 34 Mona

    His eyes…they speak to you even though he doesn’t utter a single word…

  35. 35 Samsooki

    @31 Penn –

    omg, my wife would have shrieking fits of laughter if she read that, at least from a fashion standpoint. she’s been trying for years to get me to be more like that.

    but i resist, out of comfort and ease. I’m waaaaaaaaaaay more brooks brothers button downs and pressed khakis + no sock / docksiders than, say, a spread collar pastel green Pink shirt, under hugo boss slim suit and a ferrogamo tie.

    @33 momosan –

    yeap, it was utopian, and that was a mistake. i spent my formative teen years without a recognizable and definable sense of self from a superficial standpoint. had i went to an urban high school that had plenty of asian kids, i probably would have turned out much differently… but i didn’t even consider race or ethnicity until i got to college. then i spent a semester in Korea and I was TOTALLY shocked…. you wouldn’t BELIEVE the number of korean people in korea… they were coming out of the woodwork. totally unnerving and uncomfortable.

  36. 36 saramohan

    Thanks for the article (and the mini-lesson on the words meaning “actor”)

    I’ve been keeping up with the recaps and I think I’ll just have to watch the series after it is complete. I don’t think I can keep up with more than a couple of shows (while they are still airing) at a time.

    I think it’s pretty cool that samsooki collects action figures -er- korean actors. Nothing wrong with playing favorites regardless of sex. I know I’ve had one or two girl-crushes (or more) from the entertainment world. It’s not like I want to make out with them or anything…I just admire them, you know.

  37. 37 Molly

    Thanks so much for the interview! Loved it. Or rather, love him. :)

    HOWEVER.
    “i mean, c’mon, i’m not even jumping into the fray for kiddos like Yoo Seung-ho, Kim Bum, Lee Min-ho, or even Jung Il-woo. i’d say i’m making a sacrifice, really.”

    Javabeans, you know these guys aren’t nearly as cool as Go Soo, right?! I’m 15, closer in age to the young actors that you offered, but the guys in their 30s (can’t believe GS is 31! he looks younger!) are soo much better.

  38. 38 ockoala

    I’m guessing Choate or Grot then, samsooki? (if not Exie, Paulie or Andie). Just teasing, I’m loving how you’re suddenly deemed a metrosexual. If I know my Asian male lawyers, I would have answered “Oh, hells no.” I try, but hubby looks at me like I lost my mind and then runs off to BB to buy another navy blazer while I chase after him with wingtipped Pradas and slim-cut Boss button downs in various shades of aubergine, and he screams “woman, I DO NOT star in one of your ridiculous overwrought k-dramas, do you want me to have a career or not.” I secretly answer: “yes, career good, career plus looking like Binne circa MNIKSS better.”

  39. 39 momosan

    @35 samsooki
    >I’m waaaaaaaaaaay more brooks brothers button downs and pressed khakis + no sock / docksiders than,

    Preppy still! I went the LL Bean route, myself.

    I was the opposite – I was born and lived in Japan (hence the nickname, which actually isn’t really my Japanese name – I do HAVE one of those but no one calls me that but my parents), but I’m an American mutt of the basically white persuasion. We were among the few white kids at the International school, came back to the states to integration, then I went to highschool when they were going co-ed. So I was often the minority white girl. We had more Asian boys in highschool than ANY girls. 8-) Didn’t make it any easier to get a date, though…..

    Anyway, you either developed a firm sense of self, or broke…..we had some of both in my highshool class and among the other brats.

    BTW, my sisters were NMH.

  40. 40 mie

    While everyone is arguing over who gets to have Go Soo, can I take this moment to claim Uhm Taewoong?

    His failed role as Yusin aside (which was only due in small part to his inexperience in the historical period piece genre and it’s actually the writers who are mostly to blame), he’s still one of the most fantastic actors for me.

    To actually write something relevant to the article: I love that Go-neu-nim (ha ha) isn’t someone who has always known that he wants to act, like some prodigy. I like that he has grown to love the job – I feel that’ll make him a much more serious actor that so many others out there. And he has eyes to die for.

  41. 41 okdubu

    omg LMAO at go-neu-nim xD

    additional note: the banter in dbeans comment threads never fails to amuse me LOL

  42. 42 Anonymous

    @Samsooki

    Thank you for clarifying your gender. For the longest time, I thought you were a girl, then a guy who wrote like a girl, …so confused. hahaha

    How could you grow up in the U.S, a very diverse country, yet never consider ethnicity until College? wow..you must have been sheltered growing up. hahaha

    Go Soo is definitely an eye candy. For the longest time, I wish he would pair up with my favorite actress. It has yet to happen..*need to pray harder*. I enjoyed this drama so far but wishing for a little lighter atmosphere sometimes.

  43. 43 Luna

    I have severe Go Soo pangs, which can be alleviated when I rewind or fast forward to certain scenes of Go Soo in WISFC. I’m too old to be squealing like a high school girl w/a crush, but Go Soo has that magnetic charm about him (affectionate sigh). Is it me or does the man look better as he ages? I’m skimming through his older pics from his previous dramas and I think he looks better now than his younger self (shrugs). Anyhow, thanks for the interview!

  44. 44 momosan

    @40 mie – I believe you may have a first there in claiming mine on UTW – you may have to check the recent message about him, though.

    I believe that we had to call a truce on claiming Kim Nam Gil, and founded instead the Army of Bidam Lovers (AOBL).

    Personally I called MINE on Kim Rae Won – I was surprised as all get out no one had snagged him. MINE!

    Back to the subject at hand – Go Soo has lovely lovely eyes, doesn’t he.

  45. 45 javabeans

    Haha, I totally called Kim Rae-won, but I’m letting him free for the next two years. Aren’t I generous!! :D

  46. 46 momosan

    Man, can’t slip anything by JB! I’ll just keep him for the next 18 months and then we’ll have to wrestle for him.

  47. 47 Penn

    @Samsooki
    The preppy look is the best. Brooks Brothers, LL Bean, and Land’s End. Good thing you’re a lawyer and can afford it. You’re wife is lucky. Your no sock comment reminds me of Gong Yoo. Before you say it JB, Gong Yoo, MINE.

  48. 48 ockoala

    @ Penn

    “Before you say it JB, Gong Yoo, MINE.”

    Eep, okay, on behalf of Cingdoc who is traveling, Go Yoo “Mine”

    You two can duke it out, just throwing it out there on her behalf, since she yelps about him on a daily basis.

  49. 49 mookie

    those are DREAMY caps… I’ll look afar *swoon*

    *sigh* I feel inadequate… whenever I go to BrookBros/Hugo Boss with the guy….where he can spend an hour + there…I honestly can’t tell diff of shirt A, B or C and tie 1, 2, 3…. and I’ll sneak out to get a *good for you* froyo instead.

    btw BINNIE IS ***MINE***! BORA MUST DIE!!!!

  50. 50 Snikki

    @Penn

    NOOOO!!!! Not too fast! Gong Yoo is mine! *stomps feet*

    But I’m not selfish, so we can share. You can probably have him in a parallel universe, or sumpin’. :)

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