Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jang Keun Suk the Actor - 2017-08-23

While JKS is away, perhaps on a well deserved vacation or whatever he's doing, let's not forgot his stellar acting performances. We all know that he's a bit concerned about his role in Human Life wherein he plays less than a heroic character. But JKS' best performances - the ones that have garnered him the most praise - have been those in which he played not only the "bad guy" but a character no one could love. His character in The Case of Itaewon Homicide is a perfect example of his ability to mesmerize an audience by playing a truly evil character.

In Hong Gil Dong, he played a Prince cum King who could equally be characterized as both good and bad. Chang Hwi's primary driving force to gain the throne, which he believed was stolen from him, led him to be hard and often murderous. But a gentle, loving woman and a warrior for he people showed him he could be more than just a vengeful King. Together they taught him to care...but in the end, he murders them to retain his throne.

In this role as Chang Hwi, JKS' extraordinary good looks...which is mentioned by one of characters in the in the dialog of the drama - often conflicts with his character. For the audience, too, the dichotomy arises again and again. How can someone so good looking be bad? Yet, that dichotomy appears to be exactly what the director wanted. Casting JKS in the role of Chang Hwi afforded the director the perfect example of how society can be deceived by appearance. Yet, Change Hwi turns out to be more than good looks. He's a complicated character, torn between wanting to retain the kingdom his fought to gain and the knowledge that what he's gained is far from perfect for the people. In this role, JKS performs magnificently, showing both a hardness as well as a tender, and even understanding,  side of his character.

A year later, JKS chose to completely transformed himself as an actor. Gone was the sympathetic character with whom the audience could identify or long to hold.

In The Case of Itaewon Homicide, which JKS did a year after Hong Gil Dong, the director chose JKS not for his looks as part of the cinematographic mix, but rather solely on JKS' acting ability. In this role JKS completely transforms his onscreen appearance while, remarkably, never losing his charisma.

By some reports, JKS begged to take on the role of Robert Pierson, one of the two accused of a vicious, unwarranted murder of an innocent college student. Stories abound that JKS chose to forego - offered to give up - any salary in order to play that role. Regardless, JKS performance in this film won him the Most Popular Actor award At the 46th BaekSang Art Award, in 2010.

So while his ardent fans may still affectionately linger over his later rom-com roles, it's worth noting that in most of his roles, he's played a hardened man transformed by love.

But in The Case of Itaewon Homicide, no such scenario exists. He's an evil man - full stop - who uses the court system to his advantage. JKS' ability to become such an evil character testifies to his remarkable acting skill and ability to transform himself into the character he's portraying.

So, while some of his fans (Eels) may be shocked by his performance as a far less than a heroic character in Human Time,  his willingness to accept a less than admirable role is nothing new for him. As an actor, JKS cannot - and should not - be stereotyped. He's a brilliant actor who has the remarkable talent and ability to become any character he chooses to portray. As several of his directors have said, JKS is a natural born actor. So, when Human Time finally releases, we can all expect JKS to be yet another character in his vast repertoire of characters whom he imagines them to be.
Well known actors who played in The Case of Itaewon Homicide:

Jung Jin-Yong played Prosecutor Park - he play the lead character in the film, The Happy Live with JKS.

JKS played Robert Pierson, one of the two accused murderers.

Song Joong Ki, from Descendants of the Sun, played the murder victim, Jo Jong Pi.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for always exploring rarely-considered aspects of JKS's career, KT. Eels do tend to stay mesmerized by his charms, so it's very helpful to be reminded about the depth of his interests and talent. ...And I have to say that he really, really looks disturbingly creepy in that Itaewon Homicide photo - uuggghhh!


Thank you for sharing with us, Cri!