Park Bo-gum had a stellar 2016 with two hit dramas. Now, Gallup Poll Korea confirms his status as Top Drama Actor of the year while gay rumours circulate.
Thanks to the success of "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds" and "Answer Me 1988", Park Bo-gum managed to snag 35.2% of the popular votes in Gallup Poll Korea's November survey of 1,700 Koreans. Song Joong-ki came in second at 28.1% with his first post-army drama, "Descendants of the Sun". As an aside, I am impressed by 31-year-old Song Joong-ki's popularity since the survey probably skewed young with respondents as young as 13 participating.
How to explain Park Bo-gum's success? It would appear that the actor makes the most of his opportunities to be noticed. In "Answer Me 1988", his character initially resided in the margins of an ensemble cast. Park Bo-gum charmed his way through his limited screen time, until the writer couldn't help, but throw the lead female his way. In "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds", though billed as the male lead, Park Bo-gum appeared as confused as I was by his character: a jarring mix of irreverent and mercurial. Yet, viewers waded through the tedious political intrigue in order to watch the sweet romance between Park Bo-gum and the equally pretty female lead, played by Kim Yoo-jung.
With success comes controversy. Gay rumours are circulating after photos surfaced of Park Bo-gum's touchy feely relationship with his manager. Coincidentally, the same rumours have dogged Song Joong-ki. Regardless of the actor's actual sexual orientation, it is ridiculous to flag the coy skinship Park Bo-gum engages in when his flirtatiousness is what garnered him attention in the first place. It is standard practice for drama actors to engage in bromance as fan service with even veterans like Gong Yoo and Lee Dong-wook pantomiming a shared kiss during the "Goblin" press conference.
Mere rumours are unlikely to waylay Park Bo-gum's rising star, and I can only hope that he finds projects in 2017 that will support his talents rather than relying on them to succeed. In the meantime, I would recommend watching Park Bo-gum's supporting role in "Remember You". The fact that he was able to convincingly play both creepy and cute is a testament to his potential.
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