Tale of the Nine Tailed director Kang Shin Hyo commends Lee Dong Wook and Jo Bo Ah’s ‘amazing work’ in drama
Tale of the Nine Tailed director Kang Shin Hyo recently opened up about the making of the popular Korean drama and reflected on why casting Lee Dong Wook and Jo Bo Ah was so imperative.
On December 11, Kang Shin Hyo, the director of tvN’s Tale of the Nine-Tailed, sat down for an interview about the drama with Star News via Soompi. Tale of the Nine-Tailed was a fantasy drama that featured the novel concept of a male gumiho, or mythical nine-tailed fox. In traditional folklore, gumiho often take the form of beautiful women. Kang Shin Hyo said, “Including the planning process, it took about two years and seven months for me to complete this drama. I am grateful that it received a lot of love so that I could let it go with an easy heart.”
He explained his intention in remaking the gumiho myth, saying, “Gumiho was not the starting point. Instead, I thought about making a superhero story that was very Korean at heart. In our folktales and tradition, what characters could I call upon? What would it be like if a gumiho was living in modern times? I started off with these questions, so it was obvious that a different character than a traditional gumiho would emerge.” In addition to gumiho, the drama also featured folktale characters and creatures such as the snail bride, jangseung (Korean totem pole), mountain spirits, fortune-tellers, imugi (mythical serpent), eoduksini (a type of ghost), and more.
Kang Shin Hyo said, “When we were coming up with the synopsis, we had planned to show an even more diverse cast of characters. But when it came time to film, there weren’t a lot of familiar or unique characters that we could add, so I feel some regrets about that. If it is possible to develop an unfamiliar, unique traditional character, then I believe we will see a Korean fantasy project with an even more diverse cast.” The director also praised Lee Dong Wook and Jo Bo Ah, his lead actors. About casting Lee Dong Wook, he said, “The first step that would decide the drama’s success or failure was whether I could cast someone whom viewers would believe at first sight was a gumiho. If I was looking for a former mountain spirit, a gumiho living in modern times, Lee Dong Wook was the only answer. He did an amazing job in portraying Lee Yeon as a character burdened with a tragic past, who knows how to sacrifice himself at the very end.”
About Jo Bo Ah’s casting, he said, “Nam Ji Ah is a very difficult character to play. She’s a producing director obsessed with finding out what happened to her parents, she’s the female lead of a romance, she’s also possessed by an imugi, she’s a princess in a former life… Jo Bo Ah essentially had to play four different characters all by herself, but she worked hard and did well. She was also quite nervous at first, but I believe that Jo Bo Ah is an actor with so much potential that she can exceed what she believes she can do.” The director also praised Lee Tae Ri, whose villainous turn as the imugi also garnered a lot of attention. “I had the image of someone very young, someone was different from a standard villain or what we perceive as imugi,” he said. “But it had to be someone who could do what was very difficult from an acting standpoint. Lee Tae Ri is an actor who has a very strong foundation in the basics. In playing an imugi, you run the risk of over-acting or being told you’re not acting enough, but he didn’t lose when it came to scenes with Lee Yeon at all.”