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Kim Go-eun

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Kim Go-eun
Kim looking onwards
Kim in September 2023
Born (1991-07-02) July 2, 1991 (age 32)
Seoul, South Korea
Alma materKorea National University of Arts
OccupationActress
Years active2012–present
AgentBH Entertainment[1]
Korean name
Hangul
김고은
Revised RomanizationGim Go-eun
McCune–ReischauerKim Koŭn

Kim Go-eun (Korean김고은; born July 2, 1991) is a South Korean actress. She debuted in the film Eungyo (2012) where she won several Best New Actress awards in South Korea. She is also known for her roles in the television series Cheese in the Trap (2016), Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016–2017), Yumi's Cells (2021–2022), and Little Women (2022), as well as the films Coin Locker Girl (2015), Hero (2022), and Exhuma (2024).

Early life and education[edit]

Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1991 and in 1994, at the age of three, she moved with her family to Beijing, China. She lived there for 10 years which led to her becoming fluent in Mandarin.[2] After watching Chen Kaige's Together many times, Kim decided she wanted to become a filmmaker, and was led to theater by chance. Upon returning to South Korea, she attended Kaywon High School of the Arts, and went on to study drama at the Korea National University of Arts.[3][4]

Director Jung Ji-woo commented on Kim, saying, "She is naturally curious and brave. She's strong in a sense that she isn't influenced easily. She doesn't do things just because everyone else does it."[5]

Career[edit]

2012: A Muse and critical acclaim[edit]

In 2012, Kim was catapulted from obscurity to the center of much media buzz when she was cast as Eun-gyo, a 17-year-old high school student who awakens the lust of two men, in A Muse.[6][7][8][9] Her performance swept the Best New Actress awards that year.

The 21-year-old had never appeared in a film or TV drama before, not even in a minor role; she had only previously acted in student productions or school plays. She met A Muse director Jung Ji-woo through a circle of friends and was not even aware that auditions for the film were being held.[10][unreliable source?] "I ended up having an audition after chatting with the director. There wasn't even any time for me to prepare," Kim recalled. She was chosen from among some 300 actresses who auditioned for the part. Jung said Kim grew up through the film, saying, "Her facial expressions in the last few scenes of the film are strikingly different from the ones in the beginning. I wanted to capture the moments when she realizes how precious she is to herself and to others," adding that she showed off qualities that can only be found in someone who is unaware of her own beauty and what she is capable of.[5]

Describing her feelings about her profession, Kim said, "When I stood on the stage for the first time, I was so nervous that I thought it would be so hard if I had to do this for the rest of my life. But from my second performance, I felt ecstatic, as if I had wings on my back, and I never wanted to step off the stage. I keep on acting because I want to hold on to that feeling."[3] Regarding her decision to limit her appearance in advertisements, she said, "I never thought about my image or potential endorsement deals when choosing the next film project. What worries me is what impact my appearance in commercials would have on my roles."[11]

2013–2015: Hiatus and return to film[edit]

Despite many offers following A Muse, Kim took a break from acting and went back to college to complete her degree. She returned to the screen in 2014, showcasing her versatility in the thriller Monster where she played a developmentally disabled woman whose younger sister is murdered by a ruthless serial killer; her grief and rage drives her almost psychotic, and she plans her revenge.[12][13][14][15]

In 2015, she and Kim Hye-soo were cast in Coin Locker Girl, a female-driven thriller based on the 1980 Japanese novel Coin Locker Babies. She was invited to the 2015 Festival de Cannes with the director and cast for this film, her first time there.[16][17] Kim next starred in martial arts period drama Memories of the Sword, in which she acted opposite her longtime role model, actress Jeon Do-yeon.[18][19][20] This was followed by courtroom film The Advocate: A Missing Body, where she played an aggressive prosecutor;[21] and family film Canola, about a reunion between a girl and her grandmother alongside veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung.[22][23]

2016–present: Television debut and popularity[edit]

Kim made her television debut in the hit cable series Cheese in the Trap, based on the webtoon of the same title.[24][25][26] She also contributed her vocals in the track "Attraction" by Tearliner for the drama's OST.[27] Kim won the Baeksang Arts Award for Best New Actress (Television) for her performance.[28] Later in 2016, she co-starred in Kim Eun-sook's megahit fantasy drama Guardian: The Lonely and Great God alongside Gong Yoo.[29] The drama was a pan-Asia hit, and received critical acclaim, becoming a cultural phenomenon in South Korea.[30] It was also the first Korean cable drama to surpass 20% in ratings, and as of June 2021, it is the fifth-highest rated Korean drama in cable television history.[citation needed]

In 2018, Kim played a role as a secondary character in the film Sunset in My Hometown directed by Lee Joon-ik. For her role as a wild country girl, Kim gained 8 kg and learned a regional dialect.[31][32][33] The same year, she was cast in the period romance film Tune in for Love.[34]

In 2019, Kim was cast in the fantasy drama The King: Eternal Monarch. The series was highly anticipated due to its ensemble cast, renowned screenwriter, extensive publicity, and production budget of over 30 billion won (US$25 million).[35][36] It set a record on broadcast of its first episode for SBS's highest Friday-Saturday drama premiere ratings, and maintained the No.1 spot on the weekly Wavve drama chart for eight consecutive weeks.[37][38] However, it received criticism for its screenplay and convoluted plot, which led to lower-than-expected domestic popularity in Korea.[39][40][41]

Kim in 2020

That same year she was cast in South Korea's first ever musical film Hero, which is based on the hit stage musical of the same name. The film is based on the life of freedom activist An Jung-geun and his assassination of Itō Hirobumi, the first Prime Minister of Japan and Resident-General of colonized Korea. Kim plays the role of a former Gungnyeo turned Geisha who joins the Korean independence movement.[42][43] The movie was originally scheduled to premiere in July 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[citation needed] It was finally released in December 2022 and grossed over $24 million at the domestic box office, making it South Korea's 6th highest grossing film of 2022.[44]

In 2021 and 2022, Kim starred in Korea's first live action animation, romantic comedy drama Yumi's Cells, a tvN TV series with two seasons based on the eponymous webtoon.[45] The drama resonated with viewers and was well-received; NME placed it on its list of 10 best Korean dramas of 2021.[46] Kim's top-billed turn in particular received widespread attention; India Today lauded her performance as "impeccable", [47] and Cosmopolitan Philippines called Kim "a chameleon...[who] manages to create a great character out of her roles".[48]

Also in 2022, Kim starred in the TV series Little Women, loosely adapted from Louisa May Alcott's novel of the same name. It follows the story of three sisters who, after an unforeseen incident, chart their way out of poverty and find themselves in conflict with one of the country's richest and most influential families.[49] The show holds a perfect 100% rating on review aggregator platform Rotten Tomatoes.[50] Kim received widespread critical acclaim for her performance as the eldest sister, On In-ju.[51][52]

In 2024, Kim starred alongside actor Choi Min-sik in the occult-thriller film Exhuma, in which she plays a shaman. The film premiered at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival, where it was screened in the Forum section. It topped the South Korean weekend box office in its opening weekend and crossed 5 million admissions in a record-breaking 10 days.[53] As of May 8th, 2024, Exhuma has grossed US$95 million at the box office and crossed 11 million admissions; it is the 6th highest-grossing film (domestic) of all time in South Korea, and the highest-grossing of 2024.[54] [55] Kim received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The Korea Herald extolled her "fine acting", calling her a "veteran actor" who "captivat[ed] the audience with her terror-inducing songs, oracles and prayers."[56] For her performance, Kim won Best Actress (Film) at the 60th Baeksang Arts Awards, South Korea's most prestigious entertainment awards ceremony.[57]

Kim will next be seen in the film adaptation of the bestselling novel Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park. The film will focus on the first part of the novel, which follows the friendship between a "free-spirited" young woman and an HIV-positive gay man as they live together and traverse their love lives in modern-day Seoul.[58][59]

Others[edit]

Ambassador roles[edit]

In 2019, Kim was named as a Chanel Ambassador for South Korea, and was later selected to be one of the seven faces for Chanel's "J12 Turns 20" campaign in 2020.[60]

In 2019, Kim was appointed as an honorary ambassador for Korea's Ministry of Environment's Resource Circulation held at the Korea Press Center on August 30, 2019.[61]

Philanthropy[edit]

In April 2019, Kim donated ₩20 million (approx. US$17,460) for the victims in the Gangwon Province Wildfire.[citation needed] In late February 2020, the Korean NGO Good Neighbors published that she had made a donation of ₩100 million (approx. US$82,640) to provide 40,000 masks for low-income families in South Korea amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.[62] In honor of Korean National Children's day, she donated ₩50 million won (approx. $44,000) to the Children's Hospital of the Seoul National University Hospital on May 5, 2021.[citation needed]

On March 5, 2022, Kim donated ₩50 million to help villagers affected by the Uljin wildfire through the National Disaster Mitigation Association (Hope Bridge).[63] On August 11, 2022, Kim donated ₩50 million to help those affected by the 2022 South Korean floods through the Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association.[64] To celebrated her 10th anniversary since her debut, Kim donated ₩100 million to Seoul National University Children's Hospital in October 2022.[65]

On February 9, 2023, Kim donated 30 million won to help 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake, by donating money through NGO specializing in children's rights worldwide.[66]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2012 Yeong-a Yeong-a Short film [67]
A Muse Han Eun-gyo [68]
Comfort Eun-hye Short film [69]
2013 Neverdie Butterfly Moon Soo-yeon Cameo [70]
2014 Monster Bok-soon [12]
2015 Coin Locker Girl Il-young [16]
Memories of the Sword Seol-hee / Hong-yi [19]
The Advocate: A Missing Body Jin Sun-mi [21]
2016 Canola Hye-ji [22]
2018 Sunset in My Hometown Sun-mi [31]
2019 Hit-and-Run Squad Min-jae's acquaintance Special appearance [71]
Tune in for Love Kim Mi-soo [34]
2020 Untact Soo-jin Short film [72]
2022 Hero Seol-hee [43]
2024 Dog Days Soo-jeong Special appearance [73]
Exhuma Hwa-rim [74][75]
TBA Love in the Big City Jae-hee [76][77]

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2016 Cheese in the Trap Hong Seol [24]
2016–2017 Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Ji Eun-tak [29]
2020 The King: Eternal Monarch Jung Tae-eul / Luna [78]
2021–2022 Yumi's Cells Kim Yumi Season 1–2 [79]
2022 Little Women Oh In-ju [80]

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
TBA Two Women Ryu Eun-joong Netflix series [81]

Television shows[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2021 Sea of Hope Cast member Ocean Guard [82]

Discography[edit]

Title Year Peak chart
positions
Album
KOR
Gaon
"Sun, Moon, Stars, And Us"[83]
(Shin Seung-hun ft. Kim Go-eun)
2015 Non-album single
"Attraction"
(Tearliner ft. Kim Go-eun)
2016 Cheese in the Trap OST
"Dark Hearts Will Pass Away Tonight" 2022 Yumi's Cells 2 OST
"My Dream For You" Hero OST
"What Is This Feeling"
"Your Majesty, I Remember you"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Accolades[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Name of the award ceremony, year presented, category, nominee of the award, and the result of the nomination
Award ceremony Year Category Nominee / Work Result Ref.
APAN Star Awards 2016 Best New Actress Cheese in the Trap Nominated
2021 Popular Star Award, Actress The King: Eternal Monarch Nominated [84][85]
2022 Top Excellence Award, Actress in an OTT Drama Yumi's Cells Nominated [86]
Popularity Star Award, Actress Nominated [87]
Best Couple Kim Go-eun (with Park Ji-young)
Yumi's Cells
Nominated
Baeksang Arts Awards 2013 Best New Actress – Film Eungyo Nominated [88]
2016 Best New Actress – Television Cheese in the Trap Won [28]
2017 Best Actress – Television Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Nominated [89]
2024 Best Actress – Film Exhuma Won [90][91]
Most Popular Actress Kim Go-eun Nominated
Beautiful Artist Awards
(Shin Young-kyun Arts and Culture Foundation)
2012 New Artist Award Eungyo Won [92]
Blue Dragon Film Awards 2012 Best New Actress Won [93][94]
Blue Dragon Series Awards 2022 Best Leading Actress Yumi's Cells Won [95]
Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival 2015 Fantasia Award Coin Locker Girl Won [96]
Jury's Choice Award Special Mention Won [97]
Buil Film Awards 2012 Best New Actress Eungyo Won [98]
2015 Best Actress Coin Locker Girl Nominated
Busan Film Critics Awards 2012 Best New Actress Eungyo Won [99]
Busan International Film Festival with Marie Claire Asia Star Awards 2023 Marie Claire Award Hero Won [100]
Chunsa Film Art Awards 2020 Best Actress Tune in for Love Nominated [101]
Cine21 Film Awards 2012 Best New Actress Eungyo Won [102][unreliable source?]
Director's Cut Awards 2023 Best Actress in film Hero Nominated [103]
DramaFever Awards 2017 Best Couple Kim Go-eun (with Gong Yoo)
Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
Won [104]
Grand Bell Awards 2012 Best Actress Eungyo Nominated [105]
Best New Actress Won
Jecheon International Music & Film Festival 2012 Moët Rising Star Award Won [106][107]
Kinolights Awards 2022 Actress of The Year (Domestic) Little Women 4th [108]
KOFRA Film Awards 2013 Best New Actress Eungyo Won [109]
Korea Drama Awards 2016 Best New Actress Cheese in the Trap Nominated [citation needed]
2017 Top Excellence Award, Actress Guardian: The Lonely and Great God Nominated [citation needed]
Korean Association of Film Critics awards 2012 Best New Actress Eungyo Won [110]
Korean Film Actors' Guild Awards 2015 Popularity Award Coin Locker Girl Won [111]
Korea Youth Film Festival 2016 Favorite Rookie Actor The Advocate: A Missing Body Won [112]
New York Asian Film Festival 2013 Star Asia Rising Star Award Eungyo Won [113][114]
SBS Drama Awards 2020 Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Miniseries Fantasy/Romance Drama The King: Eternal Monarch Nominated [115]
Best Couple Kim Go-eun (with Lee Min-ho)
The King: Eternal Monarch
Nominated [116]
Style Icon Asia 2016 Amazing Rising Star Kim Go-eun Won [117]

Listicles[edit]

Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Publisher Year Listicle Placement Ref.
Cine21 2024 "Korean Film NEXT 50" - Actors Shortlisted [118]
Elle Japan 2022 Top 16 Hallyu Best Actress 1st [119]
Forbes 2017 Korea Power Celebrity 40 36th [120]
Gallup Korea 2022 Talent Of The Year 9th [121]

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External links[edit]