Atypical Family actor Jang Ki-yong: I’d love to be a part of a Hindi film, they are so eye-catching | Web Series - Hindustan Times

Atypical Family actor Jang Ki-yong: I’d love to be a part of a Hindi film, they are so eye-catching

Jun 24, 2024 11:18 AM IST

Korean actor Jang Ki-yong is seen in the Korean show The Atypical Family in the character of Bok Gwi-ju.

“I’m now a ‘genre-doesn’t-matter’ Jang Ki-yong”, says South Korean actor Jang Ki-yong on his successful comeback with “The Atypical Family”.

Jang Ki-yong in a still from Atypical Family. (SLL)
Jang Ki-yong in a still from Atypical Family. (SLL)

Back on screens after a two-year-long hiatus, as he completed his mandatory military service, he reveals it was also a time for recalibration. “While I served in the military, I kept thinking about my work, and was willing to exert myself in trying new things, to showcase different aspects and sides of me to the audience.”

In SLL’s fantastical series “The Atypical Family “, Jang Ki-yong plays Bok Gwi-ju, a former firefighter, and single father who can return to the past. But thirteen years later, he is an alcoholic and depressed man, who has not only lost his ability to time travel but lives an aimless life as well. Like Gwi-ju, his mother Bok Man-huem( Goh Doo-shim) and sister Bok Dong-hee(Claudia Kim/Soo

Hyun) have lost their powers to dream and fly respectively. The arrival of the mysterious Do Da-hae(Chun Woo-hee) changes the dynamics of the powerless Bok family.

In an exclusive interview with The Hindustan Times from Seoul, Jang Ki-yong says the drama, as well as the character of Bok Gwi-ju, was unlike any other he had done before. The opportunity to collaborate with director Jo Hyun-tak (SKY Castle), writer Ju Hwa-mi( My Shy Boss) and creator Kang Eun-Kyung ( The World of the Married) was an equally exciting prospect.

“There were several new and fresh elements to the script. I was charmed by the unpredictability of it all. This was my first time portraying a father on screen. I changed my hairstyle and appearance as well. I also felt it would be natural and convincing for me to portray Gwi-Ju as a clumsy and inept father. As the story unfolds and the relationship with his daughter evolves, it was presented as naturally as possible. Gwi-ju as a character is lethargic, depressed and indifferent to everything. However, I felt in his way he is trying his hardest to find happiness back in his lacklustre life.”

Even though his character can travel back in time, he is unable to change the moments of his past. As he finds himself stuck in his memories, Gwi-ju’s dilemma is to not only break through his inertia but reach the future his heart desires. Within its superhero framework, “The Atypical Family”

also explores various socio-cultural and economic issues as well, including bullying, and body shaming. Jang Ki-yong confesses articulating the character and his complexities came with its own set of challenges.

“Gwi-ju’s current misery and past happiness are such contrasting emotions, that it was not easy to express the swift change in sentiments that had to play out at a point in time. I tried to show the contrast in the minutest of details besides the apparent atmosphere and expression.”.

However, he adds that at a personal level, he is not someone to look back, on and prefers to live in the moment. He draws parallels between himself and two of his now famous characters, Do-jin from Come and Hug Me and Gwi-ju of The Atypical Family.

“ My characters Do-jin and Gwi-ju are similar yet distant from me at many levels. Do-jin moves on and works to shake off his past. I think Gwi-ju is a little more distant from the real me since he is stuck in time and his memories. Though I always regard my screen characters as real people and work on how I perceive them to be and combine it with the director’s vision of the character.”

Expressing his admiration for co-star Chun Woo-hee, who plays the secretive Do Da-hae, Jang Ki-yong says the two shared an amiable partnership.

“I have watched Chun Woo-hee’s work and she’s an actor I’ve always wanted to work with. We are also very similar and rely on

each other, and I felt our acting chemistry was good. She was someone I could learn a lot from, and am grateful for that”, he responds with a smile.

A model turned actor Jang Ki-yong made his screen debut with a guest appearance in the 2014 drama “It’s Okay, That’s Love”. He shot to fame with the romantic thriller “Come and Hug Me” in 2018, which was followed by Search: WWW (20190, My Roommate is a Gumiho(2021) and Now We Are Breaking Up(2022). The 31-year-old confesses he sees a shift in himself, especially given his attitude towards work. “In my 20s, I was kind of living life to the full and treating work like an assignment. But after serving in the military and entering my 30s, I see a change in perspective, and am glad that I can enjoy and appreciate my work a lot more”.

He acknowledges it is also a thriving time for the Korean entertainment industry. “As an actor, it is really exciting and overwhelming with the diversity of genres and platforms available to us as well as viewers across the world, who are enjoying what we do. It’s what makes me work harder at what I do now.”

Given the popularity of Indian films such as 3 Idiots, My Name is Khan, Black and RRR in South Korea and the percentage of Indians consuming Korean content rising exponentially, Jang Ki-yong says he would be more than happy to try his luck in Bollywood .

“I like Bollywood films, they have such eye-catching elements. If given the chance I would like to be a part of it anytime.”

Though his character in The Atypical Family can time travel the past, the actor says he wouldn’t mind going back in time himself. “I believe I’ve lived every moment to the fullest without regret. But if I had to pick one, I would go back to when I first learned to ride a bike, when I was about seven years old”, he says with a laugh.

However, he says he would rather have the superpower to fly rather than time travel. “When I want to go somewhere healing, even the time it would take to fly there would be healing.”

“The Atypical Family” is currently streaming on Netflix.

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