5 things you need to know about Netflix’s The Silent Sea actor Gong Yoo

If you didn’t get enough of Gong Yoo in Squid Game, the Hallyu star will be returning to the small screen with Netflix’s new hit sci-fi series, The Silent Sea. Here are five things to know about the actor

Photo: Netflix Korea

Having starred in hit shows from K-drama classic Coffee Prince to mega-hit Goblin to zombie blockbuster Train to Busan, Gong Yoo has been a fixture in the K-entertainment industry for well over two decades. The South Korean actor makes his second appearance on Netflix of the year in The Silent Sea, following his short but memorable role as the face-slapping game recruiter in the global sensation Squid Game.

Swapping out his tailored suit for a spacesuit, The Silent Sea is a thrilling adventure set on the moon. The actor plays a selfless space shuttle captain alongside actress Bae Doona and Squid Game co-star Heo Sung-tae.

The Silent Sea is set to be this year’s final hit from Netflix, and Gong is garnering plenty of international attention. Here, we take a closer look inside the life of the actor.

Gong Yoo is his stage name

Born Gong Ji-cheol, Gong studied Theatre and Film at Kyung Hee University for his undergraduate studies, and debuted in 2001 as an actor using the name Gong Yoo – a combination of his father’s family name ‘Gong’ and his mother’s family name ‘Yoo’.

Also see: Squid Game’s HoYeon Jung and 4 other breakout Korean actresses of 2021

He is a descendant of Confucius

In 2017 it was revealed that Gong Yoo is the 79th generation of Chinese philosopher Confucius’ descendants, belonging to the Gokbu Gong clan – a branch of descendants that was established in 1351 by Kong Shao who married a Korean woman.

He gets scared easily

Being terrified of haunted houses and horror movies since a young age, Gong found filming for the hit 2016 zombie flick Train to Busan especially terrifying. In a talk show with Goblin co-star and best friend Lee Dong-wook, Gong recalled how he was genuinely scared of the zombie actors on set and how he was running for his life out of real fear during every filming.  

He only recently made his Instagram debut

Despite having been in the industry for 20 years and establishing himself as one of the most talked-about South Korean actors, Gong had only just launched his official Instagram account earlier this month. His first post was a photo of a squid, referencing his cameo in the hit series Squid Games.

Known to be a very private person, Gong disclosed in an interview with Talk Asia that he doesn’t wish for fans to lose the imagination about the figure they idolise, and how he too is a normal citizen and hopes to walk around the streets freely like everyone else.

He almost rejected his role in Goblin

Perhaps one of Gong’s most iconic characters is his role in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. The show became a cultural phenomenon and Gong won Best Actor for his portrayal of the immortal Goblin. It turns out he initially rejected screenwriter Kim Eun-sook’s offer to join the cast, revealing in an interview with Weekender his fear of television dramas due to the time limitation of production. But a heartfelt meeting with the screenwriter ultimately changed his mind.

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