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`Tough guy` hidden in image of `sweet` Gong Yoo

Posted December. 12, 2013 07:03,   


Gong Yoo, 34, is a "sweet" guy. Most of the movies he stars in as main character, except “the Crucible (Dogani),” are romantic comedy, including the dramas “The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince” and “Big” and the movie “Finding Mr. Destiny.” Tall height, long neck, and lazy voice suitable for coffee commercials all combined to help position Gong as “Sweet Prince.”

“You may find me a tough guy in reality.”

When The Dong-A Ilbo met the actor at a café in Seoul’s Samcheong-dong neighborhood, he looked sturdier than before. He has taken on a challenge to play an action character for the first time at the movie “The Suspect,” which will be released on next Thursday. Ji Dong-cheol played by Gong is a North Korean defector, who was a member of the supreme elite military unit in the North. He plays both a pursuer, who chases after the killer of his wife and daughter, and a fugitive on the run as a suspected murderer of a conglomerate chairman.

All of his lines in the movie add up to less than two pages of A4-size sheet. The scenes of the pursuits and runs filling the movie are diverse actions including fights and exchange of gun fires, speedy car chases. The movie also showcases Gong’s image as a “tough guy,” who takes off his top every 30 minutes. His eyesight in the move looks very sharp and determined.

“I was hungry during filming, which proved to be helpful. Even a beast gets very aggressive when starving. As I was on a diet for long, I had my cheekbones sharply revealed, with my eyes sunken.”

To create physique required for the movie, he reduced his body fat for three months. Eating foods devoid of salt and fat, he ruthlessly developed his muscles. In the last days, people around him including director Won Shin-yeon even tried to block him. “I was quite greedy. I hoped people will see Ji Dong-cheol as an unrealistic figure and inhuman character.”

The Suspect reminds viewers of the movies “Secretly and Greatly’ featuring actor Kim Soo-hyeon, and “Commitment” featuring Top, in that the movie features a good-looking ‘human killer weapon’ hailing from North Korea. “Some raised concern because it had the overlapping subjects with the two movies, but I didn’t care because the stories are different,” Gong said. “If I jokingly attempt to differentiate the three movies, the main characters in the first two movies are North Korean spies, but I am a South Korean. I only focused on the story of this unfortunate man, rather than the fact that he defected from North Korea.”

Gong said he initially rejected offer to star in the movie. “On top of the burden of the movie meant to be a blockbuster, I had a negative view about the prevailing perception that a young actor should perform in an action movie as matter of custom.” The director successfully persuaded Gong. Director Won once stated that he had Gong in mind from the preparatory phase to produce the movie. The name Ji Dong-cheol is also similar to Gong’s real name (Gong Ji-cheol).

The filming of the Suspect, which started in September last year, ended last June. The duration of filming is two to three times that of other films. Gong learned Systems, the Russian martial art for practical fight, to perform in the movie. He played scenes of car chases, rock climbing and sky diving at the Han River by himself without using stuntmen.