Actor Yeo Jin-Goo recently visited Singapore for a fan event timed to coincide with the Singapore and Malaysia finale of his buzz-worthy TV drama Hotel del Luna. During his visit he talked to forbes.com about his role as the manager of a ghostly hotel, his acting career, and his co-star, singer-actress IU.
Yeo Jin-Goo has had an unusually busy year so far, starring in three Korean dramas, playing a king and a clown in The Crowned Clown, a love robot in My Absolute Boyfriend, based on the Japanese manga; and finally playing the hotelier Gu Chan-sung in Hotel Del Luna. The actor said that he learned a lot about love from each of the dramas.
“My Absolute Boyfriend depicts the love between a robot and a human-being, which provided an opportunity for me to have a taste of an extraordinary love, which I have never experienced before, while The Crowned Clown characters Ha-Sun and Lee-Heon’s love is kind of strong and unwavering, which inspired me a lot,” said Yeo. “Lastly, Hotel Del Luna involves the mentioning of previous life and connection, and I was impressed by how great and selfless love is. Therefore, when I look back on the first half of 2019, I realize that each character is unique, and, thanks to these characters, my first half of the year was overwhelmed with love and care.”
Of all three characters he initially thought Gu Chan-Sung would be the closest to his real personality.
“I think that’s what I might have said when I first read the drama script,” said Yeo. “Gu Chan-Sung values self-esteem a lot, but then, when you get to know him well, you’ll certainly realize that he’s a person with lots of unexpected charms. For example, he’s indeed a timid person who is afraid of ghosts. In terms of this twist, I think he is quite close to my actual character. However, as the shooting went on, it became difficult for me to say that we’re similar, as the character amazed me a lot.”
Wondering how he might react to the situations Gu Chan-Sung faced prompted him to take the role.
“I took the role because I was curious about what would happen in this mysterious place. Indeed, I was deeply impressed by the character Gu Chan-Sung. I tried to imagine that if I was a man who can see ghosts, I would probably ask them about their life and sufferings. The world is full of secrets that nobody knows—that’s what the character Mr. Noh in the drama said, and I really want to unfold those secrets by myself.”
Some of his favorite scenes in the drama were the ones where his character saw ghostly guests off on their final journey. Those scenes took place at the tunnel to the River of Three Crossings, the river the dead had to cross on their way to the afterlife.
“The set for the scenes depicting the situation, in a tunnel to the River of Three Crossings, was quite a particular place, indeed, but for me, those moments are treasurable and unforgettable.
He said he also loved all the scenes with Man-Wol and Chan-Sung in episode 11, which focused on the sweet moments between the two characters as a couple. The actors had exceptional onscreen chemistry and he would happily act with her in another production.
“It would be good if we can work together again,” said Yeo.
For Yeo, the drama’s bittersweet ending seemed fitting.
“I think that’s the best ending for Man-Wol and Chan-Sung in this life. At the beginning, I was really sad to let go of Man-Wol, and I could hardly accept the truth. But then rebirth is possible in the drama, which means that the two-of-a-kind will definitely meet again in the next life. Therefore, no matter how long or short the couple’s moments are, I think the ending is the best for them.”
He suspected the drama would be a success when he first read the script, but the result surpassed his expectations.
“I was surprised and I would like to express my gratitude to all in the audience who kept on supporting me and the drama till the end.”
What’s next for Yeo? While he’s played a variety of roles, they tend to be good guys. He might like to play a villain the next time, a bad guy with a complex plot-twisting personality.
“Of course! I would like to take the challenge to show the audience the evil side of the world. I wish to go beyond the character and provide imaginary space to the audience, so that they can experience the fantasy and go through different kinds of thoughts. Playing a villain is always one of my goals for acting and I wish to accomplish this soon.”
Yeo’s hotelier character in Hotel del Luna put a lot of store in hotels that were approved by Forbes, wanting very much to have that name on his resume, so he thinks an interview with Forbes would have made Gu Chan-Sung very happy
“If Gu Chan-Sung had seen himself written up in Forbes, he would probably have started off his day by reading Forbes magazine,” said Yeo with a laugh. “He is about to show off how smart and brilliant he is right after this interview!”
The Singapore fan event, co-organized by Korean cable channel tvN and Singapore’s StarHub TV, included a trip to Singapore’s Halloween Horror Nights haunted house tour.The Singapore and Malaysia finale of Hotel del Luna took place on Oct. 2.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
This story was originally published on forbes.com.