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Jang Hyuk talks on set of upcoming drama

‘Slave Hunters’ actor morphs into vengeful assassin for new role


After a not-so-successful attempt to continue his winning streak, actor Jang Hyuk is returning to the genre that gave his career a serious boost.

Over a year has passed since he won audiences over with his swashbuckling portrayal of a bounty hunter in KBS’ period piece, “The Slave Hunters.”

Now, just three months after starring in SBS’ “Midas” ― a slick corporate drama that struggled to maintain top viewer ratings ― the 34-year-old is going back to the historical romance with SBS’ “Old Tree” (Working Title).

Will he be able to score a repeat success? 
The cast of SBS’ “Old Tree” (Working Title) — (from left to right) Han Suk-kyu, Shin Se-gyeong, Jang Hyuk — on set at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Tuesday, where the drama was being filmed (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)
The cast of SBS’ “Old Tree” (Working Title) — (from left to right) Han Suk-kyu, Shin Se-gyeong, Jang Hyuk — on set at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Tuesday, where the drama was being filmed (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

Jang Hyuk sat down with the cast of the upcoming drama in Seoul’s Gyeongbok Palace on Tuesday, where the drama was being filmed, to hash out the differences between his new role as Kang Chae-yoon and that of his last period piece.

At first glance, the differences between the two roles are clear.

Jang Hyuk’s latest character is a Joseon Dynasty slave-turned-detective, a departure from “The Slave Hunters,” where he played an aristocrat-turned-thug.

“In ‘The Slave Hunters’ my character, Dae-gil, was more-or-less a one-note fellow,” Jang Hyuk explained how his previous character was hopeless and deadened to the world from beginning to end.

“My new character is very proactive,” he added.

While the two characters may be polar opposites, what matters most is how well Jang Hyuk will pull his new role off.

Not only will his portrayal of Kang determine whether or not he can still wow viewers, his character will play a crucial role in fleshing out the thrill and drama of this historical tale onscreen.

Based on a two-part historical fiction of the same name, the drama ― slated to start in late September ― takes a close look at how Hangeul was invented.

Veteran actor Han Suk-kyu, whom many will remember from the classic blockbuster “Shiri,” is returning to the small screen after a 16-year hiatus to play King Sejong, the monarch credited with creating the national alphabet.

Actress Shin Se-gyeong is playing a court lady who helps out with the Hangeul project.

Jang Hyuk will portray Kang Chae-yoon, a slave who infiltrates the court under the guise of a detective. Tasked with investigating a series of murders linked to the Hangeul project, Kang uses his position as a foil for a darker purpose.

“Kang enters the palace in order to kill King Sejong,” Jang Hyuk explained. “He’s not interested in helping promote Hangeul through his investigations.”

Jang Hyuk’s role as an aspiring assassin promises to keep tensions running high throughout the whole series. Should Jang play his character with the panache and grit required to enthrall audiences, “Old Tree” might represent a new stepping stone for the actor.

Jang Hyuk also hinted at a potential romance between his character and Shin Se-gyeong’s heroine, So-ee.

“Insofar as this is a drama, then it will be somewhat melodramatic,” he said. “Our characters have past connections, so you could say that some emotions might be sparked by that.”

“Old Tree” is slated to air Wednesday and Thursday nights on SBS starting Sept. 28.

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)



<한글 관련 기사>


장혁 "'추노' 대길이와 다른 모습 기대하세요"

SBS '뿌리깊은 나무'서 노비 출신 관원 강채윤 역

지난해 KBS 퓨전 사극 '추노'로 많은 사랑을 받 았던 배우 장혁이 다시 한번 사극에 도전한다.

장혁은 다음 달 28일 첫선을 보이는 SBS 새 수목드라마 '뿌리깊은 나무(극본 김 영현 박상연, 연출 장태유)'에서 노비 출신의 겸사복 관원 강채윤 역을 맡았다.

강채윤은 조선 4대 왕인 세종(한석규)로 인해 아버지를 잃은 뒤 세종에게 복수하기 위해 겸사복 관원으로 변신하는 인물이다.

장혁은 9일 경복궁에서 열린 '뿌리깊은 나무' 촬영 현장 공개 행사에서 "원작 소설을 무척 재밌게 읽었다"고 운을 뗐다.

"원작 소설을 읽고 '너무 재밌다'며 감탄하던 중 드라마로 제작된다는 소식을 들었어요. 시놉시스를 구해 보니 원작의 캐릭터보다 각색된 캐릭터가 좀 더 입체적이고 재밌는 부분도 많더군요. 그래서 출연을 결심하게 됐습니다."

'추노'의 이대길과 '뿌리깊은 나무'의 강채윤을 비교해달라는 요청에는 "이대길 과 강채윤은 완전히 다른 인물"이라고 단언했다.

"대길이라는 역할은 어제와 오늘과 내일이 항상 똑같은 인물이에요. 희망이라는 게 없어 늘 죽은 눈빛을 가지고 살아가죠. 하지만 '뿌리깊은 나무'의 강채윤은 왕을 암살하기 위해 궁에 들어가 살다 보니 굉장히 적극적인 인물이에요. 강채윤은 하루 하루가 두려우면서도 무서운 인물이라 아주 능동적으로 움직이죠."

그는 "요즘 대본을 반복해 보면서 어떻게 하면 강채윤을 입체적이고 독창적인 인물로 보여줄 수 있을지 연구하고 있다"면서 "초반에는 원작 속 캐릭터와 비슷할 수도 있지만, 에피소드가 흘러갈수록 강채윤의 캐릭터가 더 선명해질 것"이라고 말했다.

'뿌리깊은 나무'는 훈민정음 발표 직전 집현전에서 벌어지는 연쇄 살인사건을 다룬다.

장혁은 "이 드라마를 통해 한글이 어떤 상황에서 만들어졌는지, 한글을 만든 사람들은 어떤 생각을 하고 있었는지 생각해봤으면 한다"고 말했다.

"드라마에서는 왕이 한글을 어떻게 만들어가느냐의 이야기도 있지만, 백성의 처 지에서 이를 어떻게 받아들이는가도 중요한 소재로 다뤄집니다. 한글을 만든 사람과 받아들이는 사람의 입장이 고루 다뤄지니 보는 재미가 있을 거에요." (연합뉴스)

 

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