[CELEB] Kim Hyang-gi ready to take her acting career to next level


Best known for her appearances as a child actor, Kim Hyang-gi is building a new image for herself as she takes on more mature roles in the ongoing series “Poong, The Joseon Psychiatrist” and film “Hansan: Rising Dragon.”

“Poong, The Joseon Psychiatrist” is tvN’s new historical comedy-drama series in which the 22-year-old plays a widow.

The show is about Yoo Se-poong, portrayed by Kim Min-jae, who is a physician for the royal family. But after being embroiled in a controversy, he gets ousted to the outskirts of the city where he meets an eccentric teacher named Gye Ji-han, portrayed by Kim Sang-kyung, and the widow Seo Eun-woo, played by Kim Hyang-gi. As Yoo Se-poong spends time with them, he grows to become a better doctor who helps people overcome their sadness.

The series is based on a novel of the same name by author Lee Eun-so. It won the Excellence Award in the 2016 Korea Story Contest.

“Poong, The Joseon Psychiatrist” premiered Aug. 1 and has aired two episodes total. They recorded national viewership ratings of 3.9 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, according to Nielsen Korea.

Kim Hyang-gi as her character Seo Eun-woo during a scene of the ongoing tvN series “Poong, The Joseon Psychiatrist” [TVN]

“Even during the Joseon Dynasty, there must have been people who experienced sadness,” said Park Won-guk, the director of the drama during the online press conference on July 27. “Through the series, I imagined how they would overcome this sadness and live on.”

When Kim saw the script for the first time, she said she could easily picture the scenes.

“It was very well written, and I was excited to begin shooting,” she said.

Kim’s Seo Eun-woo is an energetic and kind character who is drawn to solving mysteries and helping people.

“Seo Eun-woo is an incredible, affable character who is curious about everything that goes on in the world,” said Kim. “She does know sadness from losing her husband, but she has a kind heart and strives to overcome her past pains and take care of others.”

Kim added that her character isn’t perfect, saying that she wanted Seo Eun-woo to appear as an average human with flaws.

“She does seem perfect when she takes care of others, and those scenes are very comforting, but I didn’t want the audience thinking that she was born perfect,” Kim said. “I wanted people to see the human side of her and focused on displaying that when I was acting.”

“Poong, The Joseon Psychiatrist” airs every Monday and Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.

Kim Hyang-gi as an undercover spy in Japan in the film ″Hansan: Rising Dragon″ [LOTTE ENTERTAINMENT]

Kim is also currently on the big screen as an undercover spy in Japan in the film "Hansan: Rising Dragon."

"Hansan: Rising Dragon" revolves around Yi Sun-shin during the Battle of Hansan Island (1592), a two-day naval war between Joseon and the Japanese navy. The battle earned Yi the title of one of the country’s most revered heroes. Destroying at least 59 Japanese warships, it is also considered one of the world’s greatest naval wars and the biggest victory by Joseon during the Imjin War (1592–98).

The film is the second in director Kim Han-min’s trilogy depicting Yi Sun-shin (1545–98), a victorious naval commander of the Korean fleet during the Imjin War of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The first was "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" (2014). The final film “Noryang” is expected to be released late this year or early next year.

Kim portrays Jung Bo-reum, a Korean spy undercover in Japan as a servant of Japanese daimyo Wakisaka Yasuharu. During a press conference about the movie last month, the actor described her character as "someone who looks weak but is actually very bold.

"She doesn't hesitate before things that she believes are right."

"Through this role, I wanted to show the public my more mature side and escape the image of a child actor," she said.

Kim Hyang-gi during a scene of MBC drama ″The Queen's Classroom″ (2013) [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Though Kim is only in her early 20s, she boasts a career of over a decade. Debuting in 2006 as an actor in the movie “Heart is…,” the actor has persistently worked on both the small and big screen.

One of her most recognized performances during the early stages of her career was in the MBC drama series "The Queen's Classroom" in 2013.

A remake of the popular 2005 Japanese drama of the same title, the series was about a teacher whose harsh teaching style and punishments cause problems with her school’s sixth graders.

The series' cast involved a string of prominent child actors including Seo Shin-ae and Lee Young-yoo, but Kim's performance as the lead character Shim Ha-na was a standout. Thirteen years old at the time, the actor received MBC Drama Award’s child actor prize for her performance.

Kim Hyang-gi during a scene of 2013 film "Thread of Lies" [MOVIE COLLAGE]

In the same year, Kim appeared in the film "Thread of Lies" alongside veteran actor Lee Young-ae and received the best rookie actor prize at the 2014 Baeksang Arts Awards. “Thread of Lies” is about a mother, played by Lee, and her teenage daughter, played by Go Ah-sung, who tries to figure out the reason why their daughter and sister, played by Kim, committed suicide.

From left, actors Ha Jung-woo, Kim Hyang-gi and Ju Ji-hoon during a scene of 2017 film "Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds" [LOTTE ENTERTAINMENT]

In 2017, Kim saw box office success in the country's third highest grossing film "Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds."

The fantasy action film is about three grim reapers, portrayed by Kim, Ju Ji-hoon and Ha Jung-woo, who escort a man to his afterlife and decide his fate based on his life on Earth. Of the three grim reapers, Kim's Lee Deok-chun was praised for bringing humor to the film. For her work, the actor received the best supporting actor award in the 2018 Blue Dragon Film Awards, among other prizes.

Kim Hyang-gi, left, and Jung Woo-sung during a scene of 2019 film "Innocent Witness" [LOTTE ENTERTAINMENT]

Kim was also critically acclaimed for her performance in the crime drama film "Innocent Witness" in 2019. The film was recently brought back into the spotlight as a previous work of the writer of the popular ongoing drama "Extraordinary Attorney Woo." Kim portrayed an autistic high school student named Im Ji-woo who is the sole witness to a crime. But she gets manipulated by a lawyer, portrayed by Jung Woo-sung, who tries to exonerate his client and get a promotion. She was afterward awarded the best lead actor award at the 2019 Korean Association of Film Critics’ Awards.


Kim Hyang-gi

Date of birth: Aug. 9, 2000
Zodiac sign: Leo
Birthplace: Undisclosed
Debut: 2003 through a Paris Baguette advertisement
Agency: Jikim Entertainment

Kim Hyang-gi debuted through a Paris Baguette commercial in 2003 when she was only 3 years old. She began acting in 2006 in the movie "Heart is…" She subsequently went on to star in 13 dramas and 20 films. Among them, Kim is best known for her performance in the MBC drama "The Queen's Classroom" and films "Thread of Lies" (2013), " "Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds" (2017) and "Innocent Witness" (2019).

This information was confirmed by Jikim Entertainment on Aug. 4, 2022.