One may argue that the role of the main antagonist in a K-Drama is just as important and vital as well as challenging as that of a protagonist. As a matter of fact, part of the flavor of the show is brought in by the villain. Speaking of technique as well, an actor playing the villain often has to put more effort into getting into character for his role as it couldn’t be farther than their real selves. Finally, everyone loves a villain with a tragic back story that probably doesn’t justify his actions at all! A lot of our favorite leading men today started off their career playing villains. At the same time, some have gone back to take up the roles of antagonists simply because they’re so challenging. Here are some of the top leading actors that have played the villain equally well.
The Prince Charming of K-Drama played a revenge-driven psychopathic murderer Kang Hyung Joon in the thriller ‘Missing You’. Seung Ho’s character goes through incredible lows with not even the slightest highs and he pulls off every single element of the character perfectly. Right from being tormented to turning into the tormentor, from psychopathic to a five-year-old child, he does it all and he does it with the skill that can only be expected of him.
The perfect husband that any fangirl could dream of, Kim Jae Wook also played the role of a psychopath with a God complex, Mo Tae Goo, in the famous crime mystery ‘Voice’. Voice still remains one of the most popular thriller dramas ever and Kim Jae Wook brought goosebumps with his performance. Kim Jae Wook even admitted that he never wanted to play a villain again simply because of the emotional toll that it takes on an actor’s psyche. Fans were overwhelmed by how versatile the actor was to have played such a difficult role with such ease and even claimed that this was a “rediscovery” of Kim Jae Wook. When asked about his character, Kim Jae Wook revealed that the biggest realization he made while playing out this role was the danger of arrogance and pride. “Anyone can become haughty regardless of their social position or personality. The moment they think to themselves that they’re invincible and that the world will forgive them for anything they do, they become messed up people. I realized this through my character,” he explained.
Shin Sung Rok’s character Lee Jae Kyung in ‘My Love From The Star” stands perhaps at the top tier of villains that can run our blood cold. Gauging from just how much viewers hated the character, it speaks volumes about how well Shin Sung Rok delivered as an actor. Lee Jae Kyung was a killer hiding in plain sight behind a handsome face. He had no qualms about murder, even deriving sadistic pleasure out of committing those crimes. Everything about his character simply sent chills down viewers’ spines. His knack for playing villains was so unmatched that we went on to play a number of antagonistic roles, including his most recent, “The Last Empress”. Shin Sung Rok will be returning to the small screen once again in late October with his time travel thriller ‘Kairos’ alongside Lee Se Young and this time, as a protagonist.
It is extremely uncommon, almost unheard of, for an idol actor, especially as they're starting out, to play a villain right off the bat. Lee Joon’s role of Ryu Tae Oh in ‘Gap Dong’ truly made him stand out of the usual crowd of rookie actors. It is quite well known that Lee Joon does not turn away projects and roles with true potential. As such, playing the villain might have been a challenge but he wasn’t one to be intimidated. Ryu Tae Oh is not only psychopathic but also a former prison inmate who disguises behind the ordinary appearance of a barista. He has an extremely high IQ which makes him a criminal mastermind and he uses it to become a copycat serial killer owing to his admiration of the infamous serial killer Gap Dong. Viewers instantly knew that they had a truly talented actor in their hands.
No one who has seen either ‘Goblin’, ‘Touch My Heart’, or possibly any of Lee Dong Wook’s dramas would readily accept the idea that he played possibly the scariest villain of all time. He played Seo Moon Jo in the horror K-Drama ‘Strangers From Hell’ based on a webtoon of the same name. Belonging to the horror genre, Lee Dong Wook had to deliver not only as an antagonist but one that could give you nightmares. His character was not originally a part of the webtoon but was created exclusively for the drama. He looks ordinary and charismatic but he hides a sinister truth. Lee Dong Wook himself admitted that playing the role was extremely exhausting, especially mentally and that a character like Seo Moon Jo should never exist in real life. The actor felt the responsibility of portraying the character to perfection as an exemplary for everything that one should never do and be like. However, Lee Dong Wook is ready to steal our hearts again as the male lead in the upcoming K-Drama ‘Tale of Gumiho’ and fans can’t wait for the same to air!