From Kang Ki Young to Lim Ji  Yeon, actors who redefined their image with villain roles

From gentle smiles to radiating fierceness, these actors have transformed their images and left a lasting impact. 

The shine of the protagonists is intensified by the presence of villains. The more evil the villains are, the greater the satisfaction when they are defeated. As villains shout in frustration, commit violence, and laugh like madmen, tackling significant emotional changes that come with portraying a villain can be more challenging than many other characters. 

In fact, villains often serve as a gauge of acting prowess, and recently, there are actors who redefined their image with villain roles, which can even be called their “life character.”

For instance, Kang Ki Young has completely transformed his image. In the tvN weekend drama “The Uncanny Counter 2“, he took on the role of an absolute villain with cold eyes and a wicked smile, embodying evilness itself. Playing Hwang Pil Kwang, a top predator demon, he doesn’t even lend a hand when his own kind is in trouble.

The actor’s outward appearance has also changed visibly. Explaining the change, Kang Ki Young shared, “I couldn’t appear as a cute and playful villain, so I lost weight and engaged in strength training. I also challenged myself with a hairstyle that’s not ordinary and a slightly exaggerated styling.” 

Kang Ki-young

In the end, his efforts paid off, as his sharper appearance helped him immerse into the character.

Prior to his first villain role through “The Uncanny Counter 2”, Kang Ki Young assumed the role of Jung Myung Seok, who provided support and leadership to Woo Young Woo (Park Eun Bin) in “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”. Having played mainly comedic and cheerful characters in the past, Kang Ki Young has revealed significant charms with his recent unexpected acting challenge.

At the same time, many other actors quickly rose to stardom with their villain roles. Lim Ji Yeon, for example, gained attention for her portrayal of school bully Park Yeon Jin in Netflix’s “The Glory.”  In the end, she even won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 59th Baeksang Arts Awards in the TV category.

Lim Ji-yeon

With “The Glory”, Lim Ji Yeon challenged an antagonistic image for the first time. Appearing on the August 2nd broadcast of tvN’s “You Quiz on the Block“, she said, “I had a huge opportunity, so I became very ambitious. I wanted to look really bad and be hated continuously. It was a huge challenge to work with senior Song Hye Kyo and also because it was my first attempt.” 

The actress also revealed that she memorized all of her co-star’s lines in her effort to succeed.

Meanwhile, Lee Kyu Han also shocked viewers by playing the role of a husband who murdered his wife. As Kang Do Joon in “Battle for Happiness”, the actor completely erased his comedic image in the past. In this drama, he portrayed a villain who coerces and kidnaps those who uncover the truth about his wife’s death and incites viewers’ anger.


It’s astonishing to see how Kang Ki Young, Lim Ji Yeon, and Lee Kyu Han took on villain roles, given their usual characters. Nevertheless, these actors managed to incorporate the emotional acting required of villains into their characters, proving their acting skills. Voices of support have thus been pouring in for these actors, who fearlessly embrace image transformation and continue to grow.

Source: Daum

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