par Lily Alice, juin 14, 2024

After being three years away from the spotlight, Jang Ki Yong returned to the screen with The Atypical Family, playing the role of a depressed single father Bok Gwi Ju.

On June 13, the actor held an interview at a cafe in Mapo, Seoul, during which he shared his thoughts about the drama and his character.

The Atypical Family tells the story of a family of superpowered individuals who have lost their abilities due to chronic diseases common to modern-day people and a woman who becomes involved with them.   

Jang Ki Yong played the male lead, Bok Gwi Ju. Bok Gwi Ju is a character who can travel back to a happy moment in the past. However, after losing his wife in an accident, he suffers from severe depression and loses his ability. He meets Do Da Hae (Chun Woo Hee) and regains his happiness and superpowers.

Sharing his thoughts on The Atypical Family, Jang Ki Yong said, "It was my first project in three years. I felt awkward seeing my face on TV, but I think I did well and the drama was wrapped up nicely." 

When asked if he felt pressure for his comeback, he responded, "There was a lot of pressure since it had been a while, but I focused on the project and the character in front of me. I concentrated on how to better portray Bok Gwi Ju and express his emotions."

On playing a father for the first time, he said with a laugh, "I ended up playing a father sooner than I expected," adding, "But I liked it. I think demonstrating the potential to play such a character is important for showing the possibilities of what I can do as an actor and a person." He added, "Fatherhood [on screen] was really awkward for me. I acted with Park So Yi for quite a while, and the last scene of the last shoot was with her. I don't know if it was because it was the last scene, but when I looked into her eyes, I truly felt like a father. So Yi really felt like my daughter. I felt like I had gotten a preview of being a father." 

Jang Ki Yong appeared quite frail and sickly in the drama. Talking about his physical transformation, he said, "I lost about 12kg after being discharged from the military. ... I also grew my hair, which made me feel like I was getting into the role of Bok Gwi Ju."

Talking about playing a depressed character, he said, "At first, my mother was worried, because of the term 'depression' itself. But when I approached the character of Bok Gwi Ju, I saw so many possibilities on how to express it [depression]. Whether it was through hairstyle or weight loss or a style of acting that I hadn't tried before, I focused on how to bring out the aspects from within myself and express them." Regarding the long hair of his character, he said, "Initially, I didn't plan to grow it that long. But as I grew it, I thought it suited me more than I expected."

Jang Ki Yong returned to the small screen after a three-year hiatus. When asked about what has changed, the actor said, "I thought a lot about trying to take it easy." He continued, "Looking back on my 20s, I think I lived a very intense life. For the first time, I had 1 year and 6 months of rest through military service, and over the next 6 months I prepared for The Atypical Family." "After returning from the military, I felt like I had some peace of mind. I thought a lot about doing my best no matter what, but [at the same time] also try to be comfortable and relaxed." 

He added, "There's a kind of ambiance on set, right? I tried to get into it slowly and not rush. Even if things around me were hectic, I made a conscious effort to immerse myself slowly."

The biggest change the actor experienced after his military service, he said, is "peace of mind." "Before that, I worked so intensely that I couldn't even catch a break between projects. I think I will live fiercely in my 30s too, but despite that, I want to relax a little." He added, "Through the [time in the] military, I realized that my mind needs to be healthy so that I can work well."

On working with actress Chun Woo Hee, he said, "It was an honor to work with her. She is a senior actress whom I really wanted to work with, at least once. I was curious how it would feel to stand together, even just when our names 'Chun Woo Hee, Jang Ki Yong' were called. There was a lot of excitement. Since it was after a long time I got to work on set, I really wanted to do well. I sincerely appreciate noona (referring to Chun Woo Hee) for giving her best efforts just as much as I did on set." 

Talking about the response from his acquaintances, he said, "People told me the role suited me well. That compliment made me feel good. I worked hard for eight months, so hearing my acquaintances say that felt rewarding."

Jang Ki Yong also talked about the efforts he put into his character transformation: "Bok Gwi Ju, in his past as a firefighter, was a young man full of positive energy. I wanted to bring out his [passion when he was in his] 20s. I thought I should show more spirit, passion, and a bright and lively smile. On the other hand, in the present, Bok Gwi Ju is broken and feels devastated, so I drew a picture [of the character in my mind] after reading the script, but it wasn't easy when I actually got to the set. Therefore, I had many meetings, readings, rehearsals on set, and a lot of communication with the director before going into shooting. We took it step by step. I believed that the process was more important than the outcome. It was great to go through those processes on set with director Jo Hyun Taek and our seniors." 

The actor also said he does not share the same mentality as his character, who constantly returns to the past to relive the happy moments. He said, "Bok Gwi Ju has a tendency to keep wanting to go back to the past, but I, on the contrary, rather than wanting to go back, try to enjoy the moment as best as I can without regrets. I value the present. Instead of wanting to return to the happy past, I think focusing on what is given to me now, what I need to do today, might lead to a better future."

Recently, on an MBC entertainment show, model Joo Woo Jae reminisced about the old times he spent with Jang Ki Yong and Byeon Woo Seok. Talking about his modeling days, Jang Ki Yong said, "I think I lived a really intense life back then. It was fun when I was modeling and doing photo shoots, but it was also a struggle. It's a good memory for me. I'm thankful just for Woo Jae mentioning me on the program. I even texted him personally. ... Those were fun times." 

(Byeon Woo Seok on the far left. Jang Ki Yong third from the left. )

When asked what kind of character he wants to play next, he said, "There are so many characters I haven't played. I want to explore my potential. I may not be able to achieve 100% [perfection], but I will strive to get close."

Lastly, he added, "I think I was able to do The Atypical Family because I lived working really hard in my twenties. People say I lived intensely in my twenties, but I think it was because of those times that I became who I am today and was able to take on The Atypical Family. I want to continue to do my best at every moment and live a life without no regrets."