EXCLUSIVE: My Roommate Is A Gumiho actor Jang Ki Yong talks of finding himself through his characters & more

In an exclusive interview with Pinkvilla, Jang Ki Yong opened up about what draws him to his characters, My Roommate Is Gumiho and more!
A still image of Jang Ki Yong from My Roommate Is A Gumiho A still image of Jang Ki Yong from My Roommate Is A Gumiho, courtesy of Studio Dragon
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One of the most successful and versatile actors in the industry, currently appearing as the majestic nine-tailed fox Shin Woo Yeo in the webtoon adaptation of My Roommate Is A Gumiho, Jang Ki Yong is undoubtedly one of the most commercially popular as well as critically acclaimed actors in the Korean entertainment industry. Having taken on a host of characters in dramas of varied genres, regardless of their moral colors, Jang Ki Yong is as refined and polished as an absolute diamond. 


Jang Ki Yong's latest drama My Roommate Is A Gumiho is a frontrunner in terms of ratings as well as audience's feedback and fans just can't take their eyes off of the actor's breathtaking visuals. He plays a 999-year-old gumiho who has one final chance to turn into a human but is robbed of the same when a young college girl Lee Dam, played by Hyeri, swallows his fox bead on accident. What ensues is pure hilarity as the two end up living together to minimise the trouble that the mix-up is bringing.


My Roommate Is A Gumiho is produced by the incredible Studio Dragon. Studio Dragon is South Korea’s largest scripted television studio whose businesses involve everything from planning and development to financing, production, and distribution. The company was founded in 2016 as a division of CJ ENM Media Content and has created over 179 series with its team of 231 creative professionals, consisting of writers, directors, and producers. By the end of 2020, Studio Dragon has produced 28 series for both Korea’s terrestrial and cable broadcasting networks, and Netflix. In addition to its recent global hit Netflix series, Crash Landing on You (2019), Studio Dragon is also credited in the creation of The Arthdal Chronicles (2019), Mr. Sunshine(2018), and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016). The New York Times listed Stranger (2017) in The 10 Best Shows of 2017, while Mother (2018) was included in the official competition selection of the Cannes International Series Festival. The 10 Best KoreanDramas to Watch on Netflix, an article recently published by Time magazine, listed five Studio Dragon series: Crash Landing on You (2019), Mr. Sunshine (2018), Hi Bye, Mama! (2020), Signal (2016), and Stranger (2017). Studio Dragon, having established its US branch in early 2020, hopes to collaborate with leading global production companies to plan and produce local TV series for the global audience.


Pinkvilla had the amazing opportunity to sit down with actor Jang Ki Yong for an exclusive interview and what followed was an enlightening conversation filled to the brim with some of the most precious bits of insight into Jang Ki Yong as a person and as an artist. Keep reading until the end for a special shout-out to fans, especially those in India!


1. You’ve played a wide range of characters in various genres and have been recognized for your versatility. What’s the most important thing you take into account when taking on a role?


The very first thing I do is imagine myself playing the role and see if I can show a different aspect of myself as an actor. I chose to take on my role in “My Roommate is a Gumiho” because it was an opportunity to show various aspects of me both visually and stylistically. It was my first time wearing hanbok in a project, and I found portraying a supernatural being to be both challenging and interesting.


2. Your character U-yeo in “My Roommate is a Gumiho” is a 999-year-old gumiho (nine-tailed fox). What do you like about playing a supernatural being? What do you place importance on when portraying Shin U-yeo?


I liked having magical abilities and having the opportunity to gain new experiences such as turning what I had imagined while reading the script into reality. Playing the character itself is fun, but it’s also interesting and amazing to see how the scenes turn out after CGI is applied. Since U-yeo is a supernatural being, I could only refer to the script for character analysis. I asked the director for advice and referenced the original webtoon to understand the character better. In the process, I tried to find a way to portray the character in my own way.


3. We are excited about the on-screen chemistry between you and Hyeri. What was it like to work with her and did you two get along off camera?


It was really fun. She is full of energy so I had a lot to learn from her. She never gets tired despite long shoots and she helped me out whenever I was down or lost. I’m really grateful for that.


4. Was there any scene in the script that you were excited about or looked forward to?

U-yeo and Dam have a lot of incidents when they start living together. For example, U-yeo transforms into another person with his magical ability or Dam misunderstands U-yeo after seeing him eating blood jelly. There are many cute scenes of them getting to know each other as they spend time together. I liked those scenes when I read the script and looked forward to filming them.


5. “My Roommate is a Gumiho” is a very popular webtoon. Did the fact that it has a huge fanbase make you hesitate at all when considering the role?

It did to some degree since the original work is so popular. The original story and concept is the reason for its popularity and that’s why I really enjoyed the adapted screenplay too. I tried my best to portray U-yeo’s charms from the screenplay onto the screen.


6. You’ve played various characters. Is there a character that you can relate to the most?

I can’t say there’s one character that I relate to the most, but each of them is similar to me in a certain way. I could see myself in Mo-gun from “Search: WWW” in the way he smiles or jokes around, and the character I play in the upcoming movie “Sweet & Sour,” has a lot of my real expressions and gestures.


7. Do you find it hard to get out from under the emotional weight when you film an emotional scene?

Not really. I immerse myself in the emotion on set, but I try to get out of it quickly once the shoot is over.


8. Have you ever discovered a new side of yourself while playing a character?


I find something new about me in every project I work on. There are times when I think to myself, “I never knew I could do that or make that kind of facial expression.” I guess I’m able to naturally capture the essence of a character when I fully immerse myself into the character and screenplay. Also, directors always help bring out something new in me.


9. If you had to have a roommate like in “My Roommate is a Gumiho,” what kind of person would you prefer? What type of person would you like to avoid?

I would prefer someone who shares common interests and hobbies. For example, I’d get along better with someone who has a similar taste in food. I’m still not sure about a type I wouldn’t be able to stand as a roommate. I guess it would be difficult to live with someone who is inconsiderate of others.


10. No one else but you can play the characters you’ve played so far. How do you analyze a character and make it your own?


It all starts with the script. I read the script over and over not just to memorize my lines but to analyze each scene and understand all the characters’ emotional states. I ask directors and my colleagues for advice and share my opinion if there’s something I don’t understand. Through that process, I try to interpret the character in my own way.


11. You have a huge fanbase in India. Do you have a plan to visit India after the pandemic is over? Is there any place you would like to visit in India or any Indian food you’d like to try?


I’ve always wanted to visit India, but never got the chance. I made such good memories when I had my first fan meet-up overseas two years ago, so I hope I can meet my fans in India someday. Indian curry is very popular in Korea so I’d like to try authentic Indian curry and other popular dishes when I visit.



12. Would you say a word to your fans in India and all around the world?


I’m happy to present my latest drama “My Roommate is a Gumiho” to you all. I had so much fun filming it, so I hope you enjoy it as well. I hope to see you in person in the near future. Thank you so much for all the love and support from afar!


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Are you watching My Roommate Is A Gumiho? Share your thoughts with Pinkvilla in the comments section down below!

Anonymous 2 weeks ago

Ryu and Hyeri are still together!!!!!

Anonymous 2 weeks ago

Suka banget lucu liat Hyeri

Anonymous 2 weeks ago

Much love

Anonymous 2 weeks ago

Looking forward to next episodes, exciting...