K-drama Spotlight: The Best of Kim Go-eun’s Works Over the Years

Even with only three series and eleven films to date, Kim Go-eun has definitely become one of Korea’s best and brightest stars. She initially wanted to be a filmmaker, and landing a lead role in her first ever film (A Muse) back in 2012 was one of the unforeseen circumstances in the actress’ life— even her audition at that time was unplanned and unrehearsed. With no major acting experience prior to her first film, except for a few school plays, Go-eun was still able to nail the performance, winning her seven acting awards on her film debut.

While she did receive many offers after that, she decided go on hiatus to go back to college and finish her degree. She returned to the screen in 2014 and has been active in her acting career since then.

Because today is Kim Go-eun’s birthday, let’s take a look back on five of her best works over the years. From everyone of us here at KDramaPal, we wish Ms. Kim Go-eun a happy birthday!

A Muse (2012)

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Probably the film that started Kim Go-eun’s bright career, A Muse (also known as Eungyo) was definitely not included in Go-eun’s future plans at that time. Back then, she has never appeared in any drama or film, with her participation in school plays as her only experience. But as if by fate, she met the film’s director on the day of the auditions, auditioned on the spot, and was eventually chosen out of 300 auditionees. She was selected to be Han Eun-gyo, a 17-year-old girl whom two men lust over. While Go-eun admitted that the film’s provocative theme and the graphic sex scenes made her anxious, she was still able to do her part well. What she thought as a difficult profession became something that Go-eun started enjoying: acting. The film catapulted a then-21 year old Kim Go-eun from being a nobody to an actress that became the center of attention. The film won her several awards from different award-giving bodies.

Cheese in the Trap (2016)

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Redhead, curly hair, and sometimes too kind to a fault, Kim Go-eun took on the challenge of transforming into Hong Seol, a hardworking college girl. Cheese in the Trap was Go-eun’s debut in television dramas. Based on a webtoon of the same name, it focuses on the lives of a couple of university students and the unusual relationship between scholar student Hong Seol and her senior Yoo Jung (Park Hae-jin), a chaebol heir with a nice personality but has dark secrets. While Yoo Jung initially approached Hong Seol with a hidden agenda, he eventually falls for her. Aside from having the main role, Kim also contributed in the drama’s OST, where she sang “Attraction” with Tearliner. The series also won Kim her first ever Baeksang award, where she was recognized as the Best New Actress for Television for her performance.

Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016–2017)

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In the same year, after Cheese in the Trap, Kim Go-eun was cast in another series by award-winning K-drama writer Kim Eun-sook, but this time, as Hallyu star Gong Yoo’s leading lady. In Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Go-eun played a high school student with a gifted sight but unfortunate life, Ji Eun-tak. She is destined to be the goblin’s bride whose fate is to put an end to his cursed life by pulling the sword from his chest, which has been keeping him from dying, from his chest. As the story begins, 900-year-old General Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) is delighted to finally have found his bride who will put an end to his centuries of miseries. But fate is just not kind enough to make him die in peace, as the goblin slowly finds himself falling for his bride. The drama was a megahit, gaining not only local but also international popularity. It became (and remains) one of the highest-rated K-dramas in the cable television history, becoming a cultural phenomenon in Korea. The show also further boosted Go-eun’s popularity overseas.

Tune in for Love (2019)

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After Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Kim Go-eun starred exclusively in films for a while. Tune in for Love is her romance film together with Jung Hae-in, which set a box office record for its opening day, with 173,562 admissions. It also became the top film in Korean box office during the first week of September 2019. The story is set in the 1990s. Go-eun played the hardworking Kim Mi-soo who works part time at a bakery. This is where she meets Cha Hyun-woo (Jung Hae-in), who just got released from a juvenile detention center. The two develop an unusual relationship over the course of many years but eventually start dating. This was Go-eun’s reunion project with director Jung Ji-woo after their 2012 film A Muse. This was also not the first time Kim Go-eun and Jung Hae-in worked together, as Hae-in previously made a cameo appearance in Go-eun’s past series Guardian: The Lonely and Great God as her childhood friend and first love.

The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)

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The King: Eternal Monarch is Kim Go-eun’s comeback project in television after almost three years. She starred alongside Korea’s oppa, Lee Min-ho, who was also coming back to TV dramas after his mandatory military enlistment. This was also Go-eun’s second time working with phenomenal writer Kim Eun-sook after Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, and Eun-sook’s reunion project with Lee Min-ho after The Heirs in 2013. Given the cast lineup of Korea’s best stars and an award-winning writer penning the production, the series became the most anticipated drama from the moment it was announced. Although the show faced many controversies and backlash after it premiered, including the notably low ratings locally, the series consistently made buzz online and still became immensely popular overseas. Go-eun’s portrayal of her characters showed how much her acting matured over the years, as she took on the challenge of playing not one but two characters: the headstrong and tough detective Jung Tae-eul and the equally resilient and strong-willed Luna, who grew up in the street and the world of crimes. Lee Min-ho, on the other hand, starred in the drama as King Lee Gon of a fictional monarchical Korea. With the help of a magical flute, he is able to travel in different worlds and times and ends up coming to the Republic of Korea, where he meets Jung Tae-eul.

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Luna

It was Princess Lulu who first introduced her to Korean dramas but it was Yoon Ji-hoo from Boys Over Flowers who enticed her to stay in K-dramaland. She writes news and features for Kdramapal, which combines two of her most favorite things in the world—writing and K-dramas (look who's living the dream). The name Luna literally translates to "moon" and nothing special; she just likes writing at night.