By Maritess Garcia Reyes
June 20, 2021
Doom at Your Service is the latest Korean drama series to enchant the hearts of many, owing mostly to the incredible chemistry between talented leads Park Bo-young and Seo In-guk. Get to know more about Mr Doom himself, when you read below:
It has been two years since actor Seo In-guk played the lead as a mysterious man with a forgotten past in The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (alternate title: Hundred Million Stars From the Sky) the South Korean remake of the 2002 Japanese television series Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi. While he has performed cameo roles on Netflix’s Navillera (a tear-jerking, inspirational drama that stars Park In-hwan and Song Kang) and the 2019 fantasy rom-com, Abyss, which stars 56th Baeksang Arts Awards Best New Actor Ahn Hyo-seop and Strong Girl Bong Soon’s Park Bo-young, his followers have been eagerly waiting for his grand comeback on both big and small screens. And like a wish from the stars that came true, Seo In-guk welcomes the year with a crime-action film titled Pipeline and a swoon-inducing fantasy romance series, Doom at Your Service.
In Doom at Your Service, which streams on Viu, Seo In-guk plays the character of Myul Mang (from the Korean word myeolmang which means “destruction” or “doom”) a messenger between gods and humans, who unexpectedly meets Tak Dong-kyung (Park Bo-young), an editor for a web novel company who was diagnosed with glioblastoma and only has 100 days to live.
With Doom at Your Service still halfway through its 16 episodes as of this writing, viewers get more curious about this man who is arguably one of South Korea’s hottest talents. Get to know him with these interesting details about Hallyu’s man of the hour.
More than being a talented actor, Seo In-guk is a professional singer-songwriter with a voice that can easily make your heart flutter. In 2009, he competed and won the grand prize in the singing contest, Superstar K. In 2012, he landed the lead role in the ’90s nostalgic drama Reply 1997, where he sang two singles for the soundtrack—All for You and Just the Way We Love—both duets with co-star Jung Eun-ji of South Korean girl group Apink. The former, a remake of the song by Cool, became one of the bestselling singles in 2012 on the Gaon Single Chart.
In episode 13 of the 2016 romantic comedy Shopping King Louie where he starred with Nam Ji-hyun (Suspicious Partner; 100 Days My Prince), he played the piano and sang the Korean version of the song, This Is the Moment, of which the English original was written by Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse for the Broadway musical Jekyll & Hyde.
On Youtube, videos of him performing English covers such as All of Me by John Legend, Home by Michael Bublé, Just Once by James Ingram and I’m Yours by Jason Mraz show his versatility as a singer and how he transformed and perfected his command of the English language through the years. He also had the chance to share the stage with American-born South Korean singer Lena Park and American Idol 9 qualifier John Park (the voice behind Vincenzo‘s famous soundtrack, I’m Always By Your Side). The trio performed Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey’s hit, One Sweet Day.
Following his breakup with South Korean singer Park Bo-ram after a two-year relationship, the actor confirms he is single and “ready to be in a relationship when he finds a good person” during the press conference for his latest movie, Pipeline. In an interview with One TV Asia years ago for the fantasy rom-com The Master’s Sun where he played the role of a security leader, Kang Woo, who silently stood by his sunbae Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-Jin), he was asked if he is open to dating someone older. To which he replied: “I think that love has no age boundaries. I would prefer an intelligent woman over a pretty one as my ideal type.” Any takers?
In 2012, Seo In-guk tells Korea JoongAng Daily in an article by Carla Sunwoo that he struggled with bulimia, an eating disorder, which started when the judges at an audition for JYP Entertainment warned him about his weight. “At the initial audition, they said that I should lose some weight… From that point onward, I became obsessed with weight loss. After every meal, I’d vomit so that I could lose weight,” he says adding that when he returned to his agency after losing enough weight, he got rejected again because his “singing had worsened”. He presumes it was due to the damage to his vocal cords due to vomiting. Years later after passing these roadblocks, he won the grand prize at Superstar K, which helped him regain his self-esteem and confidence.
Aside from his weight, he also thinks he is an ugly duckling at times, saying “I personally think I have a weird face. Sometimes I look handsome, and sometimes I look ugly. I think the director [of Pipeline] thought highly of this strange visual of mine. He also said that my eyes and aura attract people. I was really thankful for his compliment” at the Pipeline press conference. Wait, what?
Contrary to his role as the last surviving heir of a chaebol chairwoman in the 2016 series Shopping King Louie, Seo In-guk’s life is more of the rags-to-riches type. His father was reportedly a welder and his mother used to collect boxes and recyclables from the garbage in order to earn money so she can feed him and his younger sister.
To this day, he looks up to his mother as his role model, saying “My mum went through difficulties ever since I was young… Of course, my father is my role model as well but the reason I picked my mother is that she went through many difficulties picking up recycling papers to raise me… Even after I debuted she continued that work. I told her to stop and rest comfortably but she said she didn’t want to because if she rests and stops working, her body would grow sick and she told me that enjoys meeting new people”. It was reported that he gifted his mother with the now-closed Coffee Natteurae, a coffee shop located in their hometown. He also opened Sojindam Ulsan, a restaurant managed by his sister. “I think I resemble my mother in that aspect. I can’t take a break or rest. When I do, I just want to work again. So she’s my role model”.
This entertainment multi-hyphenate has bagged one too many awards for his outstanding performances on television. In 2012, he got the Best New Actor award at the 5th Korea Drama Awards for his role in Love Rain as well as the Best Couple Award (together with Apink’s Jung Eun-ji) for Reply 1997. Seo In-guk and Jung Eun-ji’s song, All for You also won three-peat Best OST awards at 14th Mnet Asian Music Awards, 4th Melon Music Awards and 1st KDRama Star Awards in the same year.
His acting talents were also recognised at the 2013 SBS Drama Awards (New Star Award, Master’s Sun), 2014 KBS Drama Awards (Best New Actor, The King’s Face) and 2016 MBC Drama Awards (Excellence Award, actor in a miniseries, Shopping King Louie).
Fans are rooting for him to get the Best Actor award at the 58th Baeksang Arts Awards next year. Crossfingers!