With a gentle sense of empathy, this ‘Extreme Actor’ knows how to bring the house down

Gong Myoung

Gong Myoung, a former member of the actor group ‘Surprise,’ made his film debut through the short film Ice River as part of If You Were Me 6, an omnibus film series planned and produced by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. He played Seonjae, who chose conscientious objection based on his religious beliefs, showing a calm yet stable performance. After that, he appeared in the independent movies Futureless Things (2014) and Su Saek (2016). In the former, Gong played a considerate and caring young man working part-time at a 24-hour convenience store. His character worries about the relationship with his girlfriend due to his imminent military service. In the latter film, the actor played Sangwoo, a troublemaker who put his friends in trouble, capturing the miserable life he couldn’t escape under the yoke of violence. Gong Myoung played his first lead role in this film based on Su Saek, a redevelopment area in Seoul, portraying the feelings and guilt of a loner who struggled to find any meaning in life. He completed a raw portrayal of youth, where the trial and error of life was never refined into a healing process.

Unlike his rather delicate image with tender eyes, Gong Myoung made a strong impression by throwing up his rebellious anger from all over his body. In A Girl at My Door (2014), he took a small role of an auxiliary police officer who helped the police chief Yeongnam BAE Doona. His character confuses Yeongnam by confessing, “I feel sorry for Dohee KIM Saeron, but I don’t feel good about her. I don’t know what’s going on in her mind. Sometimes I feel like she is a little monster.”

The film that put Gong Myoung on the map is Extreme Job (2019), which drew 16 million viewers to the cinema. The actor played Jaehoon, the youngest detective of the drug squad, and won the Best New Actor of the Year at the 2019 Chunsa Film Festival. Playing a slow-witted but honest young man, he made us laugh when chopping onions in the kitchen wearing goggles. As a former baseball team member who takes blows well, the detective confronts a criminal organization by shouting, “It doesn’t hurt!” while high on drugs. Although he played a minor character who silently supported the main actors, his presence is well felt through his charms without being particularly prominent.

Meanwhile, in TV melodramas such as Drinking Solo (2016) and Feel Good to Die (2018), which focus on romantic feelings, Gong Myoung expressed the emotions of a young man hungry for love. Reflecting his maturing acting skills, the actor played Yoosang, who had a crush on Hyewon (JUNG Somin) in HOMME FATALE (2019). Yoosang is the son of the Minister of Justice and falls in a love triangle with a boy in a gisaeng house. He says to Hyewon, “I’ve always waited for you. And I can wait longer,” showing his pure love. Also in Recipe for Happiness (2019), which was unveiled at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, Gong played Namgung Jinsoo, a ninth-grade civil servant suffering from low salaries, calmly depicting the life and small happiness of youth in this era.

In Hansan: The Rise of the Dragon, one of the most promising Korean films in 2021, Gong stars as Lee Eok-ki, a military officer who made a great contribution during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. Although GONG has proved his value enough to play a supporting role in a mega historical drama series, he needs to meet with a fateful character that can further enrich his sensibility. Gong Myoung is an actor full of potential to take more leading roles in the future. Jeon Jonghyuk