By Kwak Yeon-soo Actor Um Tae-goo is innately driven toward playing strong characters, but that doesn’t define who he is in real life. The 38-year-old actor confessed that he actually dislikes violence and horror movies. Instead, he finds simple pleasure in sipping iced vanilla latte and watching cute videos of his dog. In director Park Hoon-jung’s sixth feature, Night in Paradise , Um plays Park Tae-goo, who is determined to take revenge against an organised crime gang, Buksung, which killed his sister and niece in a deadly car accident. Outraged over the loss of his family members, he stabs gangsters and the head of the gang, which infuriates mob boss Ma (Cha Seung-won). Um flees to Jeju Island and meets Jae-yeon (Jeon Yeo-been), a mysterious woman with impressive sharpshooting skills, but who is suffering from a terminal illness. To play his role in Night in Paradise , Um said he gained nine kilograms and did not use any skincare while filming. “I tried to express how devastated Tae-goo looks after losing his sister and niece. To make my skin look rough, I did not apply moisturiser or lotion or lip balm,” he said during a recent interview via Zoom. Seobok: Gong Yoo, Park Bo-gum star in disappointing Korean sci-fi thriller “I had to keep reminding myself that Tae-goo has lost family, his most precious thing in life. The feeling of grief lingered in his mind.” Saying that he’s an introverted person, Um confessed that it took him years to lose some of that shyness. “I’m naturally very shy and I don’t have a powerful voice. In the early years of my career, if I was really nervous I would start shaking and forget my lines. There was a time when it took some courage to start conversations with other cast members, but that just made things more awkward,” he said. “Then I appeared on tvN’s reality show House of Wheels last year, which was helpful in overcoming my anxiety. I was able to share casual conversations with others and to my surprise, viewers left positive comments about me.” When asked what drives him to continue acting, he said it is the only thing that fulfils him. “I just feel alive when I dive into someone else’s world and walk in their shoes. I feel like acting is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It’s hard, but so rewarding,” he said. He also expressed satisfaction in acting alongside Jeon, saying that the two became close friends as they spent much of the time eating out at restaurants after filming. “We are both food lovers, and many of our senior actors and director Park took us out for dinner and late-night snacks. We all had fun together,” he said. Um also revealed that although he doesn’t have a favourite film genre, he doesn’t enjoy watching horror films because they scare him. “I don’t have a preference for a specific film genre, but I’d love to star in a romance or melodrama in the future,” he said. Night in Paradise is currently screening on Netflix For the full story see the Korea Times.