Korean actor Yoo Min-gon hopes to pursue acting career in PH | Inquirer Entertainment

Korean actor Yoo Min-gon hopes to pursue acting career in PH

By: - Reporter
/ 12:10 AM April 22, 2023

Yoo Min-gon

Yoo Min-gon

For Korean actor Yoo Min-gon, language is not a barrier for acting.

While he spent his formative years in Canada where he learned English, he hasn’t had the chance to use it regularly since returning to Korea nine years ago. As such, he admitted feeling rusty at first when shooting the film, “‘Yung Libro sa Napanood Ko,” an entry to the recently concluded summer edition of the Metro Manila Film Festival.


“I hadn’t spoken it in years. But when I started working, my English started coming back. But I don’t think language is a barrier as far as acting is concerned. Acting is like a form of art. It’s about the emotions, and I was able to draw them out during heavy scenes,” he told the Inquirer in a recent pocket interview.


The 34-year-old actor’s bulk of work in Korea is mostly for independent films. Never did he imagine what he would someday find himself in the mainstream—and in a foreign country at that. That’s why he couldn’t be more grateful to Bela Padilla, “Libro’s” director and lead actress, for entrusting him with the project.

Luck and opportunities

“I never thought I would go mainstream. I needed a person who could trust me acting-wise… someone willing to have me play a lead role,” Min-gon said. “I don’t have big connections in Korea, so I didn’t have many opportunities to really show off my skills.”

As luck would have it, Bela needed a Korean actor fluent in English to play her leading man.

“As it turned out, one of the actresses I had worked with in the past also got to work with Bela (in “Ultimate Oppa”). So, she introduced me to Bela,” said Min-gon, who has starred in such movies as “Unboxing Girl” and “Time to Hunt.”

As a director, Bela, Min-gon said, was “perfect.” Working with her was also confidence-inspiring because she “knew what she wanted and how to do it.”

“I can ask her if I can do this or that. When Bela approves my suggestion, she tells me to go ahead. If not, she lets me know clearly why she thinks it’s not a good idea—I understand why I can’t do certain actions,” he said. “She explains everything nicely, so no feelings get hurt.”


And when they’re not filming, Bela made sure that everyone on the set felt at home. “She’s super polite and friendly. When people around me speak Tagalog, she makes sure to translate what they’re saying in English, so I don’t feel left out,” Min-gon related, adding that working with a Filipino crew has similarities and differences from working with Korean counterparts.

“What’s similar is that everyone works really quickly. And there can be a lot of changes depending on the situation. But I find that Filipinos are more open. There are fewer authority barriers or hierarchy. I find that really good,” he said.

Min-gon had nothing but good words, too, for seasoned artist Lorna Tolentino. “She reminds me of my mom. She took care of me. She’d always ask me if I slept well, how I’m feeling. She’d joke with me and didn’t let me feel left out. She’s open emotionally and lets you do whatever you need to do to act well. That’s something I’m thankful for.”

Moving to PH

The actor recently signed with Viva Artists Agency to manage his career in the Philippines. Would he be willing to relocate here?

“If there are many projects for me, then yes, I think it will be better for me to stay here. But I also want to stay and spend time with my family,” he said. “But I’m willing to pursue more acting projects here.”

Min-gon is “always open for anything and everything,” including playing a “psychopath,” a superhero, or “a rich person or celebrity with personality issues.” “I hope to play those before I retire.”

He hasn’t had the opportunity to visit Philippine beaches yet, but he hopes to go on tour in Bohol, Boracay and Cebu soon. But in his time in the country, one thing that stood out to him was the Filipinos’ love for Korean pop culture.

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“I was surprised to see a lot of Korean posters around. I’m grateful. It’s heartening to see the people who love Korean dramas or pop music. Korean culture wasn’t this popular 15 or 20 years ago. When I first arrived in Canada and told people I’m Korean, some of them didn’t even know where Korea is. Now, everyone knows about our culture. I feel lucky,” he said.


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TAGS: Bela Padilla, Korean actor, Lorna Tolentino

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