Although she is only 22 years old, Go Ara has already appeared in nine dramas and movies. In the past nine years, she has played a variety of roles, from the sweet girl who blushes at her good looking crush to the mature girl whose values are greater than her beauty in the movie “Pacemaker.”
Since she starred in the KBS drama “Banolim,” also known as “Sharp,” she made a name for herself as a child actress. Her more recent movies are “Pacemaker,” which will show in theaters starting January 18, and “Papa,” which will play in cinemas starting February 2. The highly anticipated movie “Pacemaker” debuts just a mere two weeks before her other movie. It is very rare for an actress to film two movies with such a short time span in between, and it is even more rare for a young actress as Go Ara to complete this feat.
The roles that she plays for the two movies have a stark contrast. In “Pacemaker,” she is a confident, beautiful track star, while in “Papa,” she plays the role of the oldest in a household of six children, where she must act as a parent.
In a recent interview with Yonhap News, Go Ara met a reporter in a cafe.
She said, “I really wanted to do a movie for a long time. When I saw the scenario for ‘Pacemaker,’ I thought, ‘This is it.’ I cried when I saw the scenario, and I loved my character Ji Won because I saw similarities in us. I was determined to take a challenge.”
However, it was not easy for this beauty to become the track star that Ji Won is for “Pacemaker.” Starting with a 5kg pole, she had to increase the weight to a 8kg one, and then to a 10kg pole. Because of the strenous physical activity that she had to train for several times a day, she went through muscle pains and soreness. After six months, her biceps and triceps became more prominent, and soon enough, she became Ji Won. In order to show a more confident and strong self, Go Ara gained 5kg (in muscle) for the role. (Ironically, Ara is being called the next Ha Ji Won due to her muscular frame.)
She explained, “Ji Won and I have a lot in common. Ji Won starts track because she loves the sport but later becomes an advertisement model because of her face. I started acting because I liked it but I was featured in more advertisements than movies. I attracted attention not for my skill in acting, but for my appearance.”
Although filming the movie was tasking and physically demanding, it was like a “dream” for Ara. Just like Mahn Ho (played by Kim Myung Min), who runs on the track at night in the freezing cold to prepare for a marathon, Ara worked hard and was determined to turn this experience into a learning lesson. Seeing her senior actors Ahn Sung Ki and Kim Myung Min treat the staff with respect made her want to become just like them.
When “Pacemaker” had just barely left its mark on her filming career, Go Ara went to the States to begin filming for her next movie “Papa.” The atmosphere in Atlanta was completely different from “Pacemaker,” the nature, the thick foliage, the setting.
“There was really nothing but trees. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep, I was with my co-workers. This atmosphere didn’t provide me with much chance to do anything but to be my character Joon.”
In “Papa,” Go Ara learned a variety of dances and songs for her role as an auditioning star. She is the first daughter of her manager Choon Sub (played by Park Yong Woo).
“I didn’t learn just singing and dancing. I learned to play the guitar. Although I was sad that the guitar playing part was edited out of the movie, I still practiced every morning after I woke up and right before I went to sleep.”
Go Ara’s English speaking ability was also astounding. One third of her entire script is in English, but her conversation with native speakers flowed smoothly.
“I learned English when I was a little kid so the pronounciation wasn’t that difficult. However, the accent and stresses were difficult to keep up with. I learned a lot of English while filming, and I think that what I picked up on site actually helped me the most,” she laughed.
In 2006, Go Ara ranked first place out of 40,000 other actors, earning the role in Japanese director Kadokawa Haruki‘s movie “Blue Wolf.” Within three years’ time, she appeared in another Japanese film, “Dance Subaru,” where she worked alongside Japanese actress Kuroki Meisa.
Of the nine works that she has been in, seven of them have been main leads, while two have been supporting roles. Although she is still young, when asked about any turning point moments, she answered, “I don’t know if it’s a turning point in my career, but I remember having talks with my co-star in “Who Are You,” Yoon Kye Sang and director Byun Young Ju after we finished filming. We talked about acting, and what it is like taking that road. I didn’t know it then, but now that I think about it, those talks are strong memories that stand out when I decide which roles to take.”
When asked, “is the preparation over and the challenge about to start?,” Ara thoughtfully answered, “Life is a continous challenge. I’ve got to prepare again and take another chllange. Life is a continous lesson, and acting is a continous lesson. In the future, I’d like to keep learning. I’m now deciding on my next work.”
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