Ji Chang-wook plays insecure cop in action noir 'The Worst of Evil'
Actor Ji Chang-wook says he believes everyone has an inferiority complex in some form or another, which makes his new cop character Joon-mo in the Disney+ original series “The Worst of Evil" easier to relate to.
Such a complex, according to Ji, is an important element in the series, as it drives him to chase down the drug trafficking criminals with gusto.
“My character Joon-mo is obsessed with catching the drug criminals because he feels inferior to his colleagues and his wife, who is from a family with members who are highly ranked in the police,” Ji said during an interview with reporters at a cafe in Jung District, central Seoul, on Tuesday. “But I think that everyone has some kind of inferiority complex that drives them to do certain things. I myself also have a low self-esteem, and so I empathize with my character.”
Ji's character Joon-mo goes undercover as a member of a crime gang and blends in with the bad guys whom he is trying to bring under the law. The gang that Joon-mo infiltrates spans the whole of East Asia, including not only Korea but also Japan and China.
“The Worst of Evil” topped Disney+’s rankings in Korea, Singapore and Taiwan and also landed within the top 10 in Japan, Hong Kong and Turkey, according to streaming service aggregator FlixPatrol.
“It was most important to make the content of the series entertaining,” Ji said. “I thought a lot about how to make the situation and challenges that Joon-mo faces as he goes undercover more dramatic, and how to make his internal struggles seem more extreme. I focused a lot on the character’s desires, complexes and insecurities.”
“The Worst of Evil” is Ji’s first foray into the noir genre and his first action drama since “The K2” in 2016. The actor said he wanted to offer something different.
“I was worried at first when deciding to take on a noir and action genre because there are so many great actors before me who have tried their hand at it,” Ji said. “But at one point I stopped worrying and thought that we could offer something different and new. I hope that if the older actors who have filmed a lot of noir and action works watch ‘The Worst of Evil,’ they would say something like ‘This is new, this is the young and more daring kind of noir and action.’”
When asked to pick out a particular scene that left a big impression on him while filming, Ji chose a scene where two of the opposing groups fight each other in a spectacular sequence inside an office building.
“I wanted that scene to portray the conflict between the characters in its extremity, and I also wanted the expressions and emotions of the characters to be ambiguous,” Ji said. “The director, Han Dong-wook, set up a great structure for that scene, and the action, lighting and filming staff all pitched in to make the perfect sequence.
“We also put in a lot of effort to film that scene in one take,” Ji continued. “It is not very apparent that that scene was filmed in one take because a lot happens inside the scene, but all of us involved were very committed to the process, and it is particularly meaningful to me.”
Ji has a number of upcoming projects lined up, including the film “Revolver” and some yet-untitled dramas from JTBC and Tving. He has built up an abundant filmography in recent years, appearing in at least two works since 2020. The actor said that he has a desire to appear in even more works, though he does feel fatigued at times.
“It is not an easy schedule, I admit,” Ji said. “But even as I do feel tired at times, when I receive new scripts and writings I feel drawn to them. I feel healed when I am on set with a new work to film. The process of suggesting ideas for scenes to be filmed differently and expressing myself through acting are the ways in which I feel recharged.”
The last episode of “The Worst of Evil” will be released on Disney+ on Wednesday.
BY LIM JEONG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]