Kim Gun-woo, Star of Netflix’s 'The Glory', Applauds the “Rightful” Nationwide Movement of Addressing School Bullying
Actor Kim Gun-woo. ©Blossom Entertainment
In the recently premiered Netflix series The Glory, actor Kim Gun-woo took on the role of 'Son Myung-oh’, who epitomizes the duality of a perfect villain being a sycophant to the powerful and an absolute nightmare to the helpless. With his impeccable performance, Kim Gun-woo captivated millions of viewers across the globe. The enigmatic death his character in Part 1 became a pivotal element in Part 2. Following this role, Kim Gun-woo garnered acclaim and soared to stardom, appearing in various entertainment shows and content, including the SBS variety show My Little Old Boy (a.k.a. Mom’s Diary: My Ugly Duckling).
During this interview, Kim Gun-woo shared how his life has changed since The Glory. Fans from all over the world now follow him on social media and send numerous messages, showering him with support. Deeply touched by the overwhelming love and unprecedented positive response he has received; he expressed his profound gratitude for this remarkable experience.
In the series The Glory, 'Myung-oh' (played by Kim Gun-woo) is a part of the clique led by 'Yeon-jin' (Lim Ji-yeon), who heartlessly commits heinous acts during their high school days purely for their entertainment. This unseen hierarchy continues even after they become adults, revealing Myung-oh's despicable and cowardly nature. To fit into the group, he shamelessly engages in even more wicked deeds. Often tasked with carrying out the orders of higher-ranked individuals within the group, such as 'Yeon-jin' and 'Jae-jun' (Park Sung-hoon), reflecting on Myung-oh's transformation into a villainous figure makes one realize that he, too, is a victim.
Scene from 'The Glory'. ©netflix
Kim Gun-woo stated, "I have never once considered Myung-oh a victim while preparing for the role." This is because Myung-oh has committed far more malicious acts compared to the harm he has endured. While it could be argued that his actions were driven by the power struggle among forces like Yeon-jin, Jae-jun, and Sara, they were ultimately his own choice. Kim Gun-woo focused on portraying Myung-oh as a character determined to survive, living a life solely focused on avoiding deviation from the group.
In The Glory, where past and present converge, the main characters, despite their nefarious origins, all have solid professions—except for Myung-oh. Myung-oh, entwined in a subservient dynamic with Jae-jun, constantly faces disregard from his so-called “friends”. Therefore, when he crosses paths with Dong-eun, a victim of his past school bullying, defiantly asserts, "I am the only blameless one." Kim Gun-woo imbued the character with heartfelt tenderness in this poignant exchange.
"Myung-oh carries out wrongful acts without comprehending their nature, oblivious to the distinction between good and bad. I saw him as a pure character, untouched by the concept of morality. Approaching the role with fondness, I sought to convey an essence of innocence. This is why I believed he would perceive himself as blameless, unaware of the true implications of his actions. It seemed to emanate from his inherent purity."
Analyzing Myung-oh's innocence, despite his wrongful actions and shameless demeanor, provided valuable insights into his revenge journey. Director Ahn Gil-ho and writer Kim Eun-sook meticulously crafted Myung-oh's appearance, including his distinctive scratch, tied-up hair, and tattoo. The stylist prepared fitting costumes through thorough script analysis. “Additionally, I prepared for unexpected nude scenes by working with a coach, losing weight, and reducing muscle mass to match Myung-oh's character.”
In the captivating Netflix seriesThe Glory, actor Kim Gun-woo stole the spotlight with his powerful portrayal of the villainous 'Son Myung-oh'. The series dominated the charts, securing the top spot in the non-English TV category for three consecutive weeks. With a staggering cumulative viewing time of 4.13 billion hours, The Glory soared to the 6th position in Netflix's record-breaking non-English TV series. Kim Gun-woo, known for his versatile performances in Bad Detective, Live, and Record of Youth, effortlessly traversed the realms of good and evil. This breakthrough role propelled him to the pinnacle of stardom in an instant.
Bringing together a talented ensemble cast including Lim Ji-yeon, Park Sung-hoon, Kim Hieora, Cha Joo-young, and Song Hye-kyo, The Glory defied age gaps to deliver an extraordinary on-screen dynamic. These remarkable individuals approached their roles with unwavering professionalism and delightful personalities. The synergy of their collaboration resulted in an exhilarating fusion of talent and compelling storytelling, making every encounter and opportunity a catalyst for exceptional performances.
Scene from 'The Glory'. ©netflix
"Song Hye-kyo, who I affectionately call "sister" out of respect for her seniority, took great care of me during filming, fostering a harmonious environment. Her guidance not only helped me mature as an actor but also inspired me to approach future collaborations with juniors in the same nurturing way."
In The Glory, amidst the weighty air of villains and Dong-eun's revenge, scenes of respite came alive. Myung-oh's lines, in moments untouched by darkness, loosened the tension and sparked laughter. One memorable comic scene unfolds in Jae-jun's empty home, where Myung-oh adorns himself, donning a bunch of Jae-jun’s luxury clothes and watches, and proposes to Hye-jeong over the phone about going away to Vladivostok with him.
“My favourite scene was also when I made the shocking proposal to Hye-jeong to take off to Vladivostok with me. Part 2 was such a joy to watch and I was most impressed with our crews’ final product. The poignant moment that stood out for me the most throughout the entire series is when Ji-yeon is being hazed in her prison cell and performing a skit as a weathercaster for her fellow inmates. Watching Ji-yeon deliver a myriad of such complex emotions in one single scene, I was blown away.”
“In school, I was the opposite of 'Myung-oh' in the drama - lively, cheerful, and always very busy playing and running around during breaks and lunchtime. Regarding school violence, it has persistently existed as a grave societal concern even before its portrayal in The Glory. I believe that those responsible should naturally face criticism, condemnation, and scrutiny.”
Kim Gun-woo also highlighted, "If the momentum the issue has gained right now is misused and distorted for ulterior motives, it becomes a whole other problem. Although the perception of suffering may vary, exploiting it leads to more negative outcomes. Addressing school violence with truth as the foundation is a remarkable phenomenon. While the incidents themselves are unfortunate, I do believe the ensuing discussions and heightened awareness bring positive value to our society."
"I don’t tend to make grand gestures or have grand plans for my future. I will focus on what has always been my top priority, acting." He emphasized that while meeting a good project and achieving success at the box office is not solely in an actor's control, he values the process of working with good people and creating good work. His goal is to continue his acting career with dedication as he always has been.
"I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the fans at home and around the world who patiently awaited and watched The Glory Part 2. I am deeply thankful for the incredible support, encouragement, and love that I find hard to fathom. I look forward to bringing you more and better versions of my performances. Stay healthy! Thank you very much!”
Interview by Glenda Park, Editor-in-Chief at Avec G.
*This article is simultaneously published in Seoul Wire's 'Glenda Park's Blue Ocean'.
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