Exclusive Interview: Kim Ji-Hoon on being Death’s Game villain

In an exclusive email interview with HallyuBeat, Kim Ji-Hoon delves into his chilling portrayal of a psychopath killer, Park Tae-U, in the hit series Death’s Game. The series, which premiered in December 2023, has not only captivated audiences with its unique storyline but also highlighted Kim Ji-Hoon’s exceptional ability to embody a deeply complex and menacing character.

Death’s Game presents a dark and intense narrative, where Kim Ji-Hoon’s character stands out for his heinous crimes and unnerving presence. Here, Kim Ji-Hoon reflects on the challenges and satisfaction of bringing such a terrifying villain to life.

Read our email interview with Kim Ji-Hoon below:

Your portrayal of the psychopath killer Park Tae-U in Death’s Game has been quite memorable. How did you prepare for such an intense and dark role?

“With everything that I’ve ever experienced in my life, with what I haven’t seen in person but what I’ve seen and heard, using these ingredients [I turned] the 2D Park Tae-U in the script into 3D. Like a 3D printer. The script was the blueprint, so I read and re-read the script countless times over and over again. The deeper I read the script, the more detailed the blueprint seemed to become.”

Kim Ji-Hoon in Death's Game
Prime Video

In Death’s Game, your character commits many heinous crimes. How did you approach these difficult scenes?

“Park Tae-U is a human being who feels joy and pleasure [over] the murder itself. Perhaps because he was born with everything, other emotions became dull and the world became boring..? After getting a taste for blood, I think it felt as if his black-and-white world changed into a colorful world.

“People may feel disgusted, but for Park Tae-U, it must have been more enjoyable and exciting than anything else in the world. Thinking from Park Tae-U’s point of view and thinking helped solve everything.”

There is a scene where the main character has a chance to kill your character but decides to spare him. Do you feel that despite his crimes, there is still a reason for viewers to sympathize with Park Tae-U?

“Park Tae-U is not someone who deserves sympathy, but shouldn’t he receive sympathy because he is a human being? There is a saying that says you can hate the sin, but don’t hate the people. On the other hand, even though I acted as him, sympathy seems to be a luxury for Park Tae-U. I think he should get the punishment he deserves from Death, haha!”

Kim Ji-Hoon
Prime Video

What do you enjoy most about playing the antagonist, especially in a dark show like this? Looking back at your career, from Flower of Evil to Death’s Game, how do you feel your acting has evolved, especially in portraying complex villainous characters?

“Ironically, because I thought I didn’t have much of a villain within myself, I desperately created the characters and fiercely prepared for the acting. I poured out so much that I could say that I put my soul into each villain character and I think that might be why a lot of people had a favorable reaction. Villains do a lot of bad things, so they can be more noticeable in the flow of the work and do unusual things, so there are certainly interesting parts to act.

“I acted with the thought that I wanted to show a really scary side of me in a scene, so when people who watched the drama tell me that they were really scared, it’s fun and rewarding for me. I think there were points that I realized as an actor in the process of trying to create parts of me that I thought were not there and create a different villain than before, and because of that, I was able to grow a little bit as an actor.”

Watch Kim Ji-Hoon’s intense performance in Death’s Game, exclusively on Prime Video.

READ | Exclusive Interview: Seo In-Guk recalls his role in Death’s Game

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