When Gong Yoo sat down with CNN Talk Asia for an interview with Anna Coren, he revealed a vulnerable side of himself. He might have played the resilient father fighting off hordes of zombies in Train to Busan, or the charismatic and powerful Goblin, but what he revealed to CNN is a side to him that many of his fans should understand. He misses the normal life.
When Coren said they wanted to take Gong Yoo outside for the interview but his fans might mob him, the Hallyu star could only confirm the same. What his fans take for granted as normal daily activities, are what Gong Yoo longs to do in peace, but cannot.
“I like going out to have street food without being disturbed. I like taking walks but it’s been so long since I’ve been able to do that. I miss feeling what I want to feel and walking around freely in crowded places.”
Though declared in a mild manner, Gong Yoo’s frustration is evident when he shared that he can’t even go tanning or go for a swim in the beaches in Korea because the public won’t stop taking pictures of him.
“It’s the camera. I hate it,” he said.
This could also be the reason why he is not too keen about social media. In fact, he doesn’t like Instagram at all. However, despite his 16-year stint as an actor, and after reaching international fame, Gong Yoo still can’t believe the success he’s enjoying now—especially that of the K-drama Goblin.
“It’s a piece I was really worried about. I certainly never thought Asia and the world would love it so much,” Gong Yoo said about Goblin’s success. “When I think about why this drama was so beloved, at least in Korea, it is a story that goes beyond human-to-human relationships and love. There is this special god-like figure who has the ability to do a lot more than humans.”
He went on to compare the K-drama with the Hollywood movie Twilight, where a vampire fell in love with a weak human. In his case though, he played the role of a tortured god whose only desire was to finally rest in peace. Ironic though that the only person that could give him the death that he has been longing for is a girl that he falls in love with.
Surprisingly, Gong Yoo never really thought about becoming an actor. He shared that though he applied for a Theater major in Kyung Hee University, his goal was not really to become an actor.
“After I got in, I hung out with friends who had dreams to become actors,” said Gong Yoo. “As I studied with them, I became more interested in the art of expression. I started to think maybe I could become an actor but I didn’t have the confidence.”
However, his fame might have become a curse as he discovers the price for his success is a constant show of a pleasant front. For example, because his fans are always watching him in public, he cannot lose control, or lose his temper, or be himself in whatever mood he might be feeling at a given moment.
“It’s something an actor has to endure; when they are facing the public as a celebrity, even if they are lonely. Because of this, in my day-to-day life, I believe there are many occasions where I can’t let go of control and self-restraint that I’ve built up in my life without knowing.”
And this loneliness is what drives Gong Yoo to lose himself in front of the camera. He draws all emotions he cannot release in public and channels it to the roles he plays in his movies or K-dramas. He reveals that he pours his focus on the character he needs to play, and not the complicated matters of his own life.
“I feel ecstasy in those moments and it’s what keeps me going as an actor,” the actor shares.
This is probably why Gong Yoo’s performance is always on point, and why his projects always get rave reviews. It’s no surprise that he was nominated for Best Actor in the Asian Film Awards for Train to Busan. Moreover, he had also recently won the Best Actor Award at the 53rd BaekSang Arts Awards for his role in Goblin.
While the public awaits his next project, Gong Yoo promised he wouldn’t take too long to decide on what he would do next. He would probably choose to do a movie, though, as he had revealed that doing dramas was always so tiring, but he misses being on a movie set. No matter what he decides to work on next, Gong Yoo’s fans can always rely on his good judgment of picking only good projects.
[Featured Image by Chiang Ying-ying/AP Images]