[CELEB] Kang Ki-young takes step away from supporting role in latest drama

Kang Ki-young as Jeong Myeong-seok in the ongoing ENA series ″Extraordinary Attorney Woo″ [ENA]
Kang Ki-young as Jeong Myeong-seok in the ongoing ENA series ″Extraordinary Attorney Woo″ [ENA]

Actor Kang Ki-young, best-known as a supporting actor in various K-dramas, is seeing newfound fame through his performance in a title role in the ongoing hit series “Extraordinary Attorney Woo.” 

The 38-year-old veteran actor portrays a senior attorney named Jeong Myeong-seok, in charge of a team of rookie lawyers including the show’s lead, Woo Young-woo, played by Park Eun-bin.

Kang’s Myeong-seok takes a surprisingly pleasant turn compared to K-dramas’ usual one-dimensional characters that stand next to the main protagonist. From episode one, Myeong-seok quickly develops his own storyline as he accepts Young-woo as a lawyer and overcomes his bias toward people with disabilities.

He also showcases profound professionalism and depth as he works through the legal cases with Young-woo and other rookie lawyers. Such factors showed the public a new side of actor Kang, who has been widely seen as a comedic sidekick in the past. 

Kang has also made the character his own with various ad-libs throughout the show with his signature witty and humorous acting. 

Kang Ki-young as Jeong Myeong-seok in the ongoing ENA series ″Extraordinary Attorney Woo″ [ENA]
Kang Ki-young as Jeong Myeong-seok in the ongoing ENA series ″Extraordinary Attorney Woo″ [ENA]

During an interview with Netflix on Thursday, the actor pointed out one ad-lib scene that contributed to building the character of Myeong-seok. 

“When I ad-libbed the line ‘It’s really funny to Woo Young-woo while putting on a straight face [in episode one], the director liked it so much that he used it for the teaser video of the show and the behind-the-scenes clip as well,” he said. 

When asked about his first impression of the series and his character, Kang said that there was undoubtedly something new and special about them both. 

“I thought to myself ‘I must do it,” he told Netflix. “I read the script for episode one and I thought that I must do this drama even if I have to beg the writer and director of the show.” 

“Extraordinary Attorney Woo” was Kang’s first work after he got married in 2019 and took a break from acting. Kang is married to a non-celebrity and the couple has a one-year-old son together.  

Kang has starred in some 20 dramas and nine films over the last 10 years of his career. He has portrayed a wide variety of roles such as a high school student in tvN’s romance series “King of High School” (2014), a sous chef in tvN’s rom-com “Oh My Ghost” (2015), a high school teacher in JTBC’s coming-of-age drama “At Eighteen” (2019) and a selfish manager of a restaurant in the comedy disaster film “Exit” (2019). His roles have mostly been as a supporting actors. 

While he might not have taken on many lead roles, it hasn’t stopped him from earning recognition including the Award for Best Supporting Actor at the MBC Drama Awards in 2018 for his work on the broadcaster’s drama series “My Secret Terrius” (2018) and the Korea Best Star Award in 2019 for his work in the film “Exit.”

Actor Kang Ki-young during a scene in tvN drama series ″Oh My Ghost″ (2015) [TVN]
Actor Kang Ki-young during a scene in tvN drama series ″Oh My Ghost″ (2015) [TVN]

Before working in front of the camera, Kang had been a theater actor. He debuted in 2009 through a Daehangno play called “Our Bad Magnet.” Daehangno is a 1.6-kilometer (1 mile) long cultural street in Jongno District, central Seoul, housing some 135 small- and medium-sized theaters.  
 
The actor has also appeared on local variety programs such as the first and second seasons of SBS’s “Village Survival, the Eight” (2018-19), SBS’s “Law of the Jungle” (2019), and “Pet-kage” (2021).  

Kang Ki-young as Jeong Myeong-seok in the ongoing ENA series ″Extraordinary Attorney Woo″ [ENA]
Kang Ki-young as Jeong Myeong-seok in the ongoing ENA series ″Extraordinary Attorney Woo″ [ENA]

“Extraordinary Attorney Woo” is a 16-part legal drama that revolves around Woo Young-woo, a rookie attorney with an autism spectrum disorder. Woo works for the Hanbada law firm and each episode depicts how she and her colleagues deal with different cases and everyday challenges.  
 
Aired twice weekly on cable channel ENA, the series started out with a viewership rating of 0.9 percent. That number surged to 13.1 percent for Episode 8 which aired on Thursday.  
 
The series, which was made available through Netflix, is being streamed worldwide and dubbed in 31 languages. It has consecutively topped the streaming service’s Global Top 10 chart in the non-English language TV shows category for two weeks. The series ranks No. 1 in the category in eight countries and appeared in the Top 10 for 22 countries.


 

Actor Kang Ki-young [NAMOO ACTORS]
Actor Kang Ki-young [NAMOO ACTORS]

Kang Ki-young

Date of birth: Oct. 14, 1983
Zodiac sign: Libra
Birthplace: Incheon
Debut: 2009 through the play “Our Bad Magnet” 
Agency: Namoo Actors
 
Kang Ki-young started off his acting career in the theater. He debuted in 2009 through the play “Our Bad Magnet” and went on to star in three more plays before being cast on the small screen in 2012. Though Kang had taken on lead roles on the stage, he has mostly starred in supporting roles in front of the camera. Kang has appeared in some 20 drama series and nine films. Some of his works include tvN’s “Oh My Ghost” (2015), MBC’s “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo” (2016), KBS’s “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?” (2018), film “Exit” (2019) and most recently “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” (2022) on ENA. He was named the Best Supporting Actor during the MBC Drama Awards in 2018 for his work on the broadcaster’s “My Secret Terrius” (2018) and Korea Best Star Award in 2019 for his role in the film “Exit” (2019).  
 
This information was confirmed by Namoo Actors on July 21, 2022.

BY LEE JIAN [lee.jian@joongang.co.kr]