MBC "Royal Family", Character Analysis “Are You an Angel or Demon?”


Jaebol families are a subject that often appears in dramas. For example, SBS’s had Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin), which was the fantasy of Korean women, and MBC’s had portrayed this subject with fierce enmity between ambitious individuals. The title of MBC’s itself does not deny that they contain the subject. focuses on a fake Jaebol family JK.

Naturally, there were questions about dramas similar to . Especially for the chatty PD Kim Do Hoon commented, “I expected that there would be questions comparing Midus and Royal Family and even prepared answers.” PD Kim Do Hoon’s posture and facial expression was at ease.

PD Kim Do Hoon said “ is more focused on the conflicts arising from the special situations rather than the Jaebol family itself. We are planning to narrate the struggle traditionally which makes the titles ‘A Women’s Life’ or “A Man’s Life” more fitting.”

is an interpretation of the 1947 Japanese novel by Seiichi Morimura. The novel itself was popular because it contained social issues of mixed-race and family discord. However, it was made into movies and dramas several times. A significant change from other interpretations is the Korean reinterpretation of the female role of “Insuk (Yum Jung Ah).”

Although the character of Kim Insuk is the daughter-in-law for the JK Jaebol family, she does not have a rich background like her sister-in-laws. Therefore, she was ignored and left in the shadows for 18 years. The story moves around Insuk who has many secrets and her interpersonal relationships. Insuk aids elite Han Ji Hoon (Jisung) by sending a powerful lawyer when he becomes a murder suspect, and in return Han Jin Hoon believes in Insuk and follows her around, eventually becoming a lawyer for the JK family. Insuk receives aid from Jihoon and in order to become the head of JK’s club, she creates conflict between herself and her mother-in-law who is the “Iron Lady” Gong Sun Ho (Kim Yung Ae).

A large portion of the drama focuses on Kim Insuk’s conflicts as her secrets are revealed. On the surface Insuk seems plain, however, writer Kwon Eun Mi has described the character as “an angel with the heart of a demon.” She went on to explain that Insuk’s relationship with her spouse Jihoon is stronger than any mother-son or husband-wife relationship, and that it can’t be described with words. Writer Kwon Eun Mi confessed, “It would have been easier if the characters were simply trying to become rich. Instead, each character is complex, and telling each story is a difficult task.”

It’s not an easy task for the actors either. Jisung said “Jihoon is a multileveled character and is unconventional. In certain scenes he is laughing cheerfully, in another scene he is interrogating in a cold manner. Each scene has to merge down one path, but I believe that loving the character takes priority; therefore, I am acting with love for the character.” This is the same case for Kim Yung Ae, who is using her energy while conflicting with Insuk. Kim Yung Ae confessed, “There was a time when I couldn’t hold a cup because my hand was shaking so much after acting. In each moment, I have to pour in all my emotions and energy. There are many times when I think about drinking after filming.” When listening to both individuals talk about their acting, Yum Jung Ah is highlighted even more through her interpretation of Insuk’s character that focuses on each moment.

However, complex characters such as these make acting enjoyable for actors. This could be one possible reason for the production team’s satisfaction regardless of the actors’ worries. “This work seeks out human nature. It was difficult to keep one perspective where good and evil are consistently mixed up, however, the actors are doing a good job. I think it would be intriguing to watch the drama while focusing on ‘bust shots’ instead of ‘full shots’ in order to witness the density of emotions” said director Kim Do Hoon. This comment by the director contains the real charm of the drama. Park Sang Yeon and writer of Kim Young Hyun of have joined forces to create . is definitely a drama to look forward to with its portrayal of the human psyche and human nature itself.

Written in Korean by [email protected]; translated by [email protected]