Park Bo Gum (박보검) — the boy who has the sweetest smile — first captured my attention when he played the Cellist, Lee Yoon Ho, in Naeil’s Cantabile (2014). I was immediately taken by his sunny smiles, and his synergy as the conductor with S Orchestra. At the time I thought, “Geez the music he was conducting sounds messy (as compared to Nodame Cantabile’s Rhapsody in Blue)”, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of him because he was so charming while conducting. I find myself wishing he is Chiaki Shinichi instead whilst watching the drama.
As the second male lead who appears much later in the drama, it would usually take longer for viewers to connect with the character, but Park Bo Gum is a scene stealer, and has immediately stolen my heart.
There were at least 2 scenes from Naeil’s Cantabile that Bo Gum made a very strong impression.
(1) The conducting scene, where he showed so much liveliness conveying fun with music
In Nodame Cantabile, Stresemann assembled S Orchestra and made Nodame the mascot because to her, never mind the basic or technique, music was all about having fun. It’s a message for Chiaki, and a lesson that Chiaki needs to learn in his journey to become a conductor. When I watched Naeil’s Cantabile, I didn’t think this message was conveyed successfully through S Orchestra when they performed Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony. It wasn’t until Lee Yoon Ho came along that we saw the S orchestra having some fun through this conducting scene.
(2) When Lee Yoon Ho ducked into an empty room and clutched his hand, tears streaming down his cheek, but he wiped it away, enduring the excruciating pain all alone—the emotions he conveyed—I felt my heart being squeezed. Lee Yoon Ho in that particular scene, has no one—is lonesome standing by the edge of a cliff, and no one notice.
It is obvious there are still room for more improvement for his acting, but his performance in Naeil’s Cantabile was very memorable. He’s the reason to continue the show, because Naeil’s Cantabile on its own is a disaster. From that point onwards, I kept Bo Gum in the back of my mind.
He then disappearsed from the small screen, and onto the big screen — filming two movies — The Admiral: Roaring Currents and Coin Locker Girl. It was a good move for him, as he gets to work with top veteran movie actors/actress such as Choi Min Shik and Kim Hye Soo.
By pure coincidence, I watched Coin Locker Girl without knowing Bo Gum is in it. At the time, I thought he had been typecast—because he was playing the sunny boy as he was in Nae il’s Cantabile. But I must say, type-cast or not, he was irresistably adorable in that movie. Coincidentally, his Naeil’s Cantabile’s co-star, Go Kyung Pyo is also in the movie. So in total, they have now worked on the same project
three four times to date. What’s going on? LOL.
The Admiral: Roaring Currents grossed a total of 17 million in the box office, where Bo Gum plays the son of Admiral Lee Soon Shin’s subordinate, Baek Soo Bong. Throughout the movie, he looks dirty and unkempt, but was praised to have given a fantastic emotional performance.
The movie itself was really good, with excellent cinematography and directing. The earlier part was a wee bit boring, but when it reaches the latter part, it was tear-inducing and nerve-wrecking. Bo Gum has a very small role in here, but he was specially given 2 one-on-one scenes with Choi Min Shik, and I believe the director gave him more scene appearances than need be, because his role is neither important nor plays a big part in the movie, but, this is a good thing.
Fast forward to 2015, I believe the breakthrough performance for him has to be playing Jung Sun Ho / Lee Min in I Remember You (or Hello Monster) against Seo In Guk and Choi Won Young. Whenever these 3 gather together in one scene, I never walk away unsatisfied. I love their back-and-forth with one another; it was spine tingling and “action-packed“, except the action were just them carrying out very intelligent conversation, brain-storming analysis or profiling, and strangely, it gives me an adrenaline rush.
Park Bo Gum’s excellent performance is hard to forget. The character seems tailored made just for him, and he proves himself perfect in the role, too. His acting is sensationally eerie at times when needed—with just mere use of his eyes; a slight tilt of his head to one side; a smirk, and the speed/tone of saying his lines. It was bone-chilling enough to watch; to know that behind this pure, innocent-looking face, there is a evil living in it.
Jung Sun Ho / Lee Min is an angel born to be broken, Park Bo Gum is spot on with the portrayal—saying scary things matter-of-factly with a straight face; and when confronted that his view is distorted, he then makes you feel guilty for being too hard on him with his pouts with the I’m-sorry-I-upset-you-but-I-didn’t-mean-to-I’m-born-like-this facial expression.
All Min ever wanted, his entirety, his existence of living—is to be together with hyung again. His yearning for Hyun to notice and recognise him, his sadness and anger when Hyun did not; his longing for Hyun’s love was so strong, heart-breaking and sad—Park Bo Gum portrayed all that to a tee. Bravo.
I Remember You did not garner high rating nationally, but internationally, I don’t think it did too badly. It is definitely the most underrated drama of 2015, but it most definitely does not go to waste for Park Bo Gum and us, as he snatched the best supporting actor award at KBS Drama Awards end of 2015.
And whaddaya know few months later, the little dongsaeng followed hyung’s footsteps and join the Answer Me series franchise. He continues to impress and steals viewers’ hearts by playing Choi Taek in Answer Me 1988. At first I thought he is playing similar “sunny” role again, but even though there were similarities, Bo Gum created a different type of “sunny” flavour as the shy and quiet Taekie.
With 10 episodes into Answer Me 1988, I am really hoping to see what else is in stall with Taek for the next 10 episodes. He did not have many scenes for the first 6 episodes, and I was really getting worried if he is just playing a supporting role, and that his character won’t be doing ‘much‘ in the story. However, with him now the candidate of Deok Sun’s future husband, then by right (or logic?), we should see a lot more of him in the latter episodes.
After seeing his performances in I Remember You and Answer Me 1988, I no longer worry Bo Gum will be type-cast. At age 22, he still has a long way to go, but he is full of potential, and has a bright future ahead of him—if he continues to do whatever he is doing now.
I am a drama fan; hence, the selfish me wants Bo Gum to focus only in his acting career. However, I cannot ignore he has talents in other areas, and that he is exploring them all right now. Not only can he act, but he can play piano and sing too (although vocal training is needed).
He is currenly working as an emcee for KBS Music Bank. What else can he not do? Dance? But looks to me, he is capable of dancing to the rhythm and can dance in sync with his co-host, Irene, in below clip.
Bo Gum learnt piano since kindergarten, so the boy does have basic understanding of musical notes. This tells me he won’t be one of those actors who tries to sing and learn to play a piano piece last minute in order to please his fans. With his multi-talents, he could totally do everything by himself if he ever holds a fan meeting—be the emcee (host), sing, act and play musical instruments.
I gotta thank Show Biz Korea for inviting Bo Gum for their talk show last Christmas. It really helps getting to know him a bit better, and I got my answer concerning if he can play the cello in Naeil’s Cantabile. The answer is YES! SWOON.
Unlike other Korean actors who went on the show, I was even more impressed when he bravely greet the Show Biz Korea’s viewers in English! Extra points for doing that, my Bogummy. Hee.
As shown in the talk show, Bo Gum has very strong desire in extending his horizons into different areas of performing arts. It’s great that he wants to do that, and he has the potential too, but it’s just not good news for a foreign drama fan like me if he ever ventures out to become a singer and/or musical actor. Sighs. Nevertheless, here’s to wishing him a smooth sailing, successful and fruitful acting career, best of luck to everything he does for the rest of his career years.
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