Updated: Aug 30
If the success of Yumi's Cells 2 and her recent Best Actress win at the Blue Dragon Series Awards are any indication, it's that Kim Go-eun's career and talent has been nothing short of incredible. We trace her most notable roles in cinema and k-drama, from her controversial film debut to her most recent works.
Eungyo / A Muse (2012, film)
Kim stars as a 17-year-old student whose innocent appeal awakens the desires of both a 70-year-old poet and his 30-year-old disciple. This controversial Lolita-esque film was Kim's first foray into acting outside school plays. She was still an acting student at the Korea National University of Arts when she was offered the role, and after discussing with her parents the nudity the role demanded, she went on to play the role decisively.
For her risky move, Kim won a handful of major acting awards, including trophies from the Korean Association of Film Critics and the Daejong Film Awards, paving the way for her future career in cinema.
Memories of the Sword (2015, film)
Kim starred alongside Hallyu heavyweights Lee Byung-hun and Jeon Do-yeon in this period martial arts drama. It was a dream come true for Kim, as she had long considered Jeon her ultimate role model. Interestingly enough, Jeon also claims a fondness for Kim before they met, even telling Kim that her "Eungyo" reminded her of her younger self when Jeon was just getting started in acting.
Cheese in the Trap (2016)
Based on the webtoon of the same name, this is Kim's first foray into k-drama (she had only worked in films before this k-drama). Here, Kim plays a poor college student Hong Seol who is drawn to Yoo Jung (Park Hae-jin), a senior with a rather dark side.
The director, Lee Yoon-jung, even adjusted shooting schedules simply to work with Kim. His insistence paid off: Kim eventually would go on to win the Best New Actress trophy at the 2016 Baeksangs for her work on the drama.
The iconic fantasy drama that helped introduce a new generation of fans to the "second wave" of Hallyu, Goblin cemented Kim Go-eun as an A-list star with a reputation for serious talent.
As Ji Eun-tak, her life is eventually entwined with the immortal goblin Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) who has long desired to end it all. The supernatural romance went on to smash viewer ratings, and eventually reaped multiple awards for its cast, including the Daesang (Grand Prize) for its writer, Kim Eun-sook.
The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)
In present-day Korea, Kim is Lieutenant Jeong Tae-eul, a smart detective whose fate crisscrosses with that of an alternate Corea... and its king (Lee Min-ho).
Kim had previously worked together with The King's screenwriter Kim Eun-sook in Goblin. Instead of pure fantasy, the drama attempted to bring mathematics into the fray and used multiverses and wormholes to bring a fresh spin to a royal romance.
Yumi's Cells 1 & 2 (2021, 2022)
Based on the webtoon of the same name, Kim is Yumi, a single working woman whose life we follow as she navigates life and love. We are privy to her thoughts and feelings through the animated "cells," who represent all that's going on in her inner life.
Read our full review of season 1.