Kim Yeo Jin On Breaking Stereotypes With Villain Role In “Vincenzo,” Teamwork With Co-Stars, And More
Ahead of the grand finale of tvN’s “Vincenzo,” Kim Yeo Jin took part in an interview to share her thoughts on her character, the ending, and more.
The tvN drama stars Song Joong Ki as Vincenzo Cassano, an Italian lawyer and Mafia consigliere who is of Korean descent, but was adopted by an Italian family at a young age. When he moves back to Korea due to a conflict within his organization, he winds up crossing paths with sharp-tongued lawyer Hong Cha Young (Jeon Yeo Bin). Together, they join forces in using villainous methods to take down villains who cannot be punished by the court of law.
Kim Yeo Jin plays Choi Myung Hee, the ambitious and ruthless lawyer of Woosang Law Firm.
Choi Myung Hee is a different kind of villain from the ones that often appear in Korean dramas. On playing the role, Kim Yeo Jin commented, “Of the characters I’ve played until now, this was the hardest one to approach. It was a villain I had never seen anywhere else. It’s hard to call her a villainess. She’s genderless. Not feminine nor masculine, like a middle-aged woman at times and like a middle-aged man at others. While acting, I focused on the fact that she has to be despicable. In many works, a villainess is sexy and captivating, or a certain incident or accident that causes her to carry out evil deeds is portrayed so that viewers can empathize with her. But for Choi Myung Hee, all of these were stripped away, and I had to show a balance between her mundanity and her evilness.”
Choi Myung Hee’s strong Gyeongsang dialect added character to the role. Because Kim Yeo Jin grew up in Masan, the dialect felt natural to her. She explained that she acted without the dialect when was speaking to Jang Jun Woo (2PM’s Taecyeon) and that she spoke with a stronger accent when she was addressing characters she looked down on or wanted to fight.
Another defining characteristic of Choi Myung Hee is her love for zumba dancing. Kim Yeo Jin revealed that although she had never learned zumba, she had learned to salsa. Analyzing her character, she shared, “It may be a stereotype to think, ‘Can someone who loves music and dance so much be a bad person?’ she is a new kind of character who meshes her daily life with her terrible crimes. That’s why she was a very interesting character who seems normal until she suddenly makes your skin crawl.”
The way that Choi Myung Hee brought death upon others while going about her ordinary life made her wickedness appear even more pronounced. When she ordered her subordinates to kill lawyer Hong Yoo Chan (Yoo Jae Myung), she was eating a mouthful of ssam (wrap) and gave the order nonchalantly like she was talking about the weather. Kim Yeo Jin agreed that this was a crucial scene, sharing, “Before this scene, many viewers were unsure whether she was a bad person or a good person, but this scene showed a twist. I was also shocked when I read the script. I think the way she was eating depicted her hunger and greed. I thought it was a symbolic scene that portrayed Choi Myung Hee’s world where the strong prey upon the weak.”
Asked to pick a favorite scene or line, Kim Yeo Jin said with a laugh, “Please watch the last episode.” She also said she liked the recent scene at the bar with Hong Cha Young (Jeon Yeo Bin) and that she wished they had more scenes together. She recounted, “At the time, I looked at Cha Young and thought ‘You and I are alike. In 20 years, you’ll become like me,’ and that made me laugh. I thought of myself as creepy for thinking that. It was a scene with depth that made me think a lot.”
Viewers may wonder what Choi Myung Hee’s ultimate goal is, but according to Kim Yeo Jin, she doesn’t have one. “It’s her way of living. All she has in her life is a desire to win and a desire to be acknowledged. She lived in a world where you live if you win and die if you lose, and that’s what she believes.”
Kim Yeo Jin shared that the actors had great teamwork, saying, “I’m comfortable with Jo Han Chul (playing Han Seung Hyuk), so we could freely talk about acting. Same goes for Taecyeon. With Song Joong Ki, we tried new things almost every scene.” The actress commented that she naturally laughs a lot and had trouble holding in her laughter and concentrating because of Jo Han Chul and Kwak Dong Yeon.
The actress said about Choi Myung Hee, “I think she will be a turning point in my acting career. My mindset has changed a lot while playing this role. I think ‘Vincenzo’ is a work that has never been seen before. Unimaginable things happen all the time, and there’s a very serious, cruel, and deep darkness to it, but it’s very funny. It has every genre in it. It’s confusing until the end, but that’s the charm of this drama. Isn’t that how our lives are?”
In response to a request to drop a spoiler about the ending, Kim Yeo Jin revealed, “Whatever you’re imagining, it’s probably going to be even greater that that. You should absolutely not miss it.”
Lastly, she shared a few words for the viewers of the drama. She expressed, “When I read the script, I was worried about how people would receive Choi Myung Hee. I wondered how people would take the way the cases are solved and the comical and fantasy-like stories, but my worries were baseless. The viewers enjoyed the novelty and unfamiliarity. It made me think that the level of our audience is the force that makes Korean dramas grow. Because you didn’t reject the novelty and quickly absorbed and became a fan of it, I think that Korean dramas will be able to portray new stories endlessly. I was impressed by the viewers. I also enjoyed ‘Vincenzo’ as a viewer, so I am sad [to see it end]. ‘Vincenzo’ and Choi Myung Hee will stay in my memory for a long time. I hope they are a drama and a character like that to the viewers as well.”
The final episode of “Vincenzo” airs on May 2 at 9 p.m. KST.
In the meantime, check out Kim Yeo Jin in “Meow, the Secret Boy“: