'A very unfortunate curse,' Choi Woo-shik says of his role in Netflix's 'A Killer Paradox'

A scene from the Netflix original series "A Killer Paradox," starring actor Choi Woo-shik as Lee Tang, an ordinary college student who discovers an uncanny ability to identify evildoers [NETFLIX]

There is no such thing as a justifiable killing, even if it is against someone who would be deemed evil by most. Actor Choi Woo-shik firmly believes this, but in the new Netflix original series “A Killer Paradox” he is the one who goes around doing the killing, “eradicating the evil.”

“My character Lee Tang is someone who internally justifies his killings because it’s aimed at people who are evil, but I think that killing cannot be justified at all,” Choi said during a group interview with local reporters at a cafe in Jung District, central Seoul, on Wednesday. “If I had the power to identify evil people like Tang does, I wouldn’t go killing them, but I would certainly report them to the police.”

Choi’s Tang has the uncanny ability to pick out people who have committed heinous crimes, like murder or rape, and after he kills the first couple of people on a whim, Tang goes on a killing spree with the help of a sidekick. “A Killer Paradox” climbed to No. 2 on Netflix’s rankings for non-English language shows globally in just three days after its release on Feb. 9, and also landed within the top 10 in 19 countries.

As Tang’s killing spree against evildoers continues, the show poses questions about what is right and wrong, what the meaning of justice is and whether vigilante activities by a person like Tang should be condoned by society.

Actor Choi Woo-shik [NETFLIX]

“I wanted to depict Tang going through the change of being ambivalent about his ability to identify evildoers to accepting his fate and transforming into a killing machine,” Choi said. “That change had to be subtle, so I put a lot of thought into it, and one of the ways to express it was to depict the character with this in mind — that Tang had to compromise a lot in his situation to make that transformation.”

Some might feel like a superhero in his shoes, but to have the ability to identify evildoers like Tang — an ordinary man in his 20s — would be a curse, Choi said.

“I think to live the way Tang does in the story would be a very unfortunate curse,” Choi said. “I wouldn’t know what to do with such an ability if I was faced with it.”

To fit the physicality of Tang, Choi tried to bulk up as well, but largely failed because he couldn’t gain much weight, the actor said.

“I reached my highest weight ever, but it backfired because when I put on weight, it shows in my face first,” Choi said. “After a while I stressed too much about bulking up, so the director and I decided not to put too much focus on the physical side of Tang’s transformation.”

A scene from Netflix original series "A Killer Paradox" [NETFLIX]

Choi’s performance as the seemingly ordinary college student who turns into a killing machine gained positive feedback from viewers, and he received much praise from those around him, Choi said.

“I received the most messages from friends and acquaintances for ‘A Killer Paradox,’” Choi said. “I think it’s in part because I usually played upbeat or bright characters, or a character with the role of a storyteller within the story, in my past works, but in this series, Tang was a wholly different character.”

“A Killer Paradox” is based on the highly popular webtoon of the same name, which received multiple awards including the Korea Content Award by the Korea Creative Content Agency and a yearly award hosted by the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency. Choi read the original webtoon in preparation for the role of Tang and was amazed by the content, the actor said.

“I think, as an actor, I feel more pressure to depict a character well when there is an original work to refer to,” Choi said. “That’s because the fans of the original work have many expectations about how the character should be played. I owe a lot to the director, Lee Chang-hee, because he picked out elements of my acting that needed more consideration and made my depiction of Tang more detailed.”

A scene from Netflix original series "A Killer Paradox" [NETFLIX]

Choi, who turns 33 this year, has mainly played youthful roles such as high school or college students, including in the 2019 Oscar-winning film “Parasite,” in which he played the son of a family that leaches off a much wealthier family. Choi wants to shed that image of a younger actor and play different types of characters in the future, he said.

“I do think that your image as an actor is formed through many projects and not just one, but I think that at this point in my career, a change is necessary,” Choi said. “These days I focus more on whether I would enjoy filming a work when I choose what to appear in next. It would be a lie to say that I didn’t want to pursue a change in my image, and I don’t think of it as much as I did before, but I would like to play roles where I could shoot guns while riding a horse or dramatic characters like that.”

To find out more about Choi Woo-shik, visit Celeb Confirmed!