K-drama star too shy for love

Yeo Jin Goo made a name for himself as a child actor playing the younger versions of male leads in K-dramas.
Yeo Jin Goo made a name for himself as a child actor playing the younger versions of male leads in K-dramas.PHOTO: TVN MOVIES

South Korean actor Yeo Jin Goo has had his fair share of romantic moments in K-dramas. He was the crown prince devoted to his betrothed in the period drama, Moon Embracing The Sun (2012), and he accidentally kissed a female friend during a bus ride in the melodrama Missing You (2013).

In real life, however, romance has eluded the 19-year-old, who started acting at age eight. He has yet to experience first love and has not had admirers confessing their love for him.

While in Singapore to launch a new Korean movie channel on StarHub, he tells The Straits Times: "I am not the type of person to express my emotions. Maybe that's why I haven't had any relationships.

"I wouldn't say I am an introvert. I enjoy joking around and talking to people.

"But when it comes to love, I'm too shy to say, 'I love you.'"

The newly launched tvN Movies will be airing his movies Hwayi: A Monster Boy (2013) and Tazza: The Hidden Card (2014).

But he is probably best known as a child actor who played the younger versions of male leads in K-dramas such as Moon Embracing The Sun and Missing You.

On the cusp of adulthood now, he says his transition from children's roles to lead roles is not as tough as it might have been because "in Korea, people think I look older than my actual age - I would say that kind of helped me".

"Perhaps my voice makes me sound older than I am," he adds in his deep voice.

Hwayi, a violent thriller, also marked a successful move for him away from squeaky-clean roles.

His turn as a criminal teen raised by crooks won him the Best New Actor prize at the Blue Dragon Film Awards in 2013, but viewers were concerned that, at 16 then, he was too impressionable for the role.

Yeo, who was too young to watch the film meant for those aged 19 and above when it was released in South Korea, says: "People were worried that I would get caught up in the emotions. I had to kill somebody in the movie and there was a lot of blood on set. It looked realistic.

"But once the director says cut, the actor will get up. I was all right. It was a genre I had always wanted to try. It was fun."

What does he want to do when he becomes an adult in two years' time? Travel the world, he says.

"When I was younger, I was busy with school and acting commitments. When I become an adult, I can make time to do what I want. I want to see the world."

• tvN Movies is available on StarHub TV Channels 818 and 819 and via online streaming service StarHub Go.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'K-drama star too shy for love'. Print Edition | Subscribe