Photo: ST/Faith & D Entertainment
South Korean singer-actor Yook Sung Jae has a good eye for television drama scripts - he says he jumped on board the cast of this year's hit K-drama Goblin even before he finished reading its script.
Yook, 22, says: "I instantly fell in love with the scriptwriter's fresh, original story about a goblin. I also wanted to get involved, knowing I'd be able to learn a lot from my seniors, actors Gong Yoo and Lee Dong Wook."
In the fantasy romance penned by Kim Eun Sook, the scriptwriter behind last year's top K-drama Descendants Of The Sun, he plays a character who inherits his family's wealth and responsibility to serve the centuries-old Goblin, an immortal being.
The role turned out to be his big break. His popularity has soared along with Goblin's massive regional reach. He has been invited to perform at shopping mall Ion's ION8ight Anniversary Fashion Concert next Friday.
Yook, who is a member of K-pop boyband BtoB, says: "A lot more people recognise me and whenever I go to restaurants, people around me tell me how they love the character and my acting. I'm grateful for all the attention and love."
The rising star started out in the boyband in 2012 and, like many of his ilk, diversified into acting in dramas and working the variety-show circuit.
Among other things, he underwent military training in reality show The Real Men (2014) and in We Got Married (2015 to 2016), he entered a pretend marriage with singer Joy from the girl group Red Velvet.
His dramas include The Village: Achiara's Secret (2015) and Who Are You: School 2015.
Of course, none of those shows did for him what Goblin did.
Before filming Goblin, he reveals, he was anxious at the thought of working with two big-name actors, Gong and Lee.
The rookie need not have worried. Apparently, the hilarious banter among the trio continued even when the cameras were not rolling.
Yook says: "They're fun to be around. Dong Wook initiated a body-language game to break the ice between us.
"We didn't even have time to be bored. The three of us love cars so we talked a lot about cars . I felt like I was around close brothers the whole time."
For his next project, he is thinking of taking up the challenge of playing a villain.
"I want to show a different side of me and the characters I've played thus far. Something more heavy, substantial and serious."
He is also catching up on some much-needed "me time", indulging in wakeboarding and fishing.
He says: " I enjoy fishing because I feel like I'm in my own little world. It just feels peaceful catching up on my me time."
This article was first published on the Straits Times