Actor Yeo Jin-goo has been paving his way through acting since he was eight, building up an extensive portfolio ― 20 series, and 16 films ― by the age of 24.
But it wasn't until very recently that he has grown confident in his style of acting, through the lead role in JTBC's crime thriller, "Beyond Evil," which ended with its highest viewing rating of 6 percent of viewers subscribed to television services nationwide, Saturday.
"Working on 'Beyond Evil' was like putting a period on a series of questions about how I should act," the actor said in an interview with The Korea Times, Tuesday. "I wanted to become confident in my style of acting and after taking part in this series, I came to trust myself."
Yeo plays reserved, elite detective Han Joo-won, who tries to hunt down a murderer from 20 years ago in a small town, along with partner Lee Dong-sik (Shin Ha-kyun). As he digs deeper into the case, he learns that the big secret behind it involves his father, who is the chief of police.
Yeo said that working with veteran actor Shin was a positive "stimulant" in playing his character. "Shin helped me a lot in setting the tone of Joo-won and in getting into the character," he said. "Shin was full of surprise. He would come up with something new (for the scene) and go about making his very own version of Dong-sik."
When asked what made him choose this project, the actor said he liked how the series also follows the perspectives of people affected by heinous crimes including the victims' families.
"The story doesn't solely revolve around who the killer is. I liked how the writer, Kim Su-jin, combined different genres together," he said. "Finding the perpetrator is important, but the relationships between the characters and towns people are also delicately woven into the story."
The actor had his breakthrough in 2013 with the title role in the thriller action film, "Hwayi: A Monster Boy." But despite his success, he revealed that he felt he had "gotten stuck in a pattern and kept repeating it" after the film.
"I became an actor simply because I like acting. But since 'Hwayi,' I have been getting people's attention and higher expectations, which made me take a different perspective on acting because I started to think, 'I can't just like it but I have to do it well.' The thing I used to love became difficult," he said. The actor added that he started to put himself in a box, developing a set of patterns for expressing different roles.
Then came the period romance series, "The Crowned Clown," in 2019, which broke him out of previous patterns. "The series' director, Kim Hee-won, would throw me on the set and tell me to express the character however I want, without giving me any directions," he said.
He noted that this autonomy in interpreting the character gave him an idea of how he should approach acting, which he came to grasp further through his next project, "Hotel Del Luna."
"Now, I have finally settled on my style of acting… which is to have a clear separation between me and the character. I learned that the more I separate myself from the character, the better I can get into the character on the set," he said.
The actor, who says he enjoys taking on challenges, expressed that he tries to keep an open mind when choosing his projects. "I usually don't limit myself to certain genres," he said. "I haven't decided exactly what kind of character I want to play… so I go through different scripts."
Adding that both praise and criticism motivate him, he said, "I will take them as a kind of nutritious fertilizer and do my best to bloom into a beautiful flower."
source: The Korea Times