Hearing Yeo Jin Goo’s voice is almost like listening to someone speak through a less intense Batman voice modulator, except his deeper-than-the-oceans tone is au naturel (we mean that all in a good way).
The 22-year-old South Korean heartthrob has been known for his rich timbre since his child actor days, when he frequently played the younger versions of the male leads. Now that he’s all grown up, he’s tackling the main roles, the latest one in the hit series, Hotel del Luna.
Actually, calling it a “hit” might be an understatement. The supernatural fantasy romance, which centres on a guest house for ghosts, is currently the highest-rated drama on its network tvN for this year so far, and the eighth highest in Korean cable television history.
Even Jin Goo - who plays Chan Sung, the general manager of the titular establishment - admitted he did not anticipate such a phenomenal result.
“When I first received the script, I was very intrigued and thought viewers would find it interesting too,” he said at a media conference to promote the show in Singapore yesterday (Sep 23). “But I never expected such an overwhelming response from fans across Asia.”
He attributes the success of Hotel del Luna to two important factors: firstly, a compelling plot that spans over 1,300 years; and secondly, well fleshed-out characters with their own stories and backgrounds. He added a third factor during our group interview later on.
“I thought that in order for the drama to do well, it was important for IU and I to have good chemistry,” he said (IU plays Man Wol, who is forced to run the hotel as punishment for her past sins). “So I often requested to practise our lines together, and she would always agree wholeheartedly. Thanks to that, we managed to build up a great chemistry between our characters.”
So what was it like working with the singer-actress? “I think she’s really wonderful; she always brought a very bright energy to the set,” he gushed. “We share a very good relationship and still keep in contact with each other frequently.”
We don’t know who to be more envious of.
Read on for more from the press conference and group interview with Yeo Jin Goo!
If you weren’t an actor, would you have considered becoming hotelier like your character?
I never considered being a hotelier before taking on this role, but after I read the script, I tried to recall all the times I stayed in different hotels around the world and how the staff would prepare to serve the guests, and I must say it’s a really tough job!
To be honest, I wasn’t very academically talented as a student, and I believe you need to be very intelligent to be a hotelier, so it would be tough for me, even though I’m meticulous.
What sort of hotelier do you think you would be?
Well, I would hope to be like Man Wol. (Laughs) She’s a very intelligent and organised person.
Is there something you always do when you check into a hotel room?
I love to run to the bed and jump on it excitedly!
Have you ever had any strange encounters while staying in a hotel? Are you afraid of ghosts?
No, I haven’t, and no, I’m not exactly afraid of ghosts or anything supernatural, but I do get frightened easily by things that appear suddenly, like bugs. (Laughs) If a really small insect popped out of nowhere, I might still jump out of fear!
Do you believe in the afterlife? When your time comes, what do you hope to have achieved by then?
There’s a saying in Korea that goes, if you waste food, you might have to finish all the food you left behind after you pass away, and since I do believe in the afterlife, I try not to leave any food behind!
As for what I want to achieve before I pass on, I haven’t really given it much serious thought, but I really hope to be remembered as an actor who actively tried various roles until the very last moment.
You’ve done both movies and dramas. What’s the difference between the two of them, and which do you prefer?
It’s very hard to choose as they’re both very different in nature. For dramas, you need to be very adaptable and attentive because there could be slight changes to the storyline that you have to act out on a whim.
On the other hand, you get more time to dive deeper into your research for a movie role before filming begins. They each have their own charms and I wouldn’t want to choose one over the other.
You’ve been an actor for 14 years. What keeps you going?
Every time I take on a new role, it’s a new and refreshing experience, and I think that is what has kept me going since I made my debut as a child actor.
Photos: Mark Lee, tvN, TPG