Villains are always the hardest, yet juiciest characters to play on a television drama. It is impressive when an actor can pull it off and even more so when an actor known for hero or “good” characters can pull it off.
On Korea’s record breaking Baker King, Kim Tak Goo (international title: Bread, Love and Dreams), two actresses did just that. The second of those actresses is Kim Yoo Jin, better known as singer-actress Eugene.
As Shin Yoo Kyung, Eugene wowed audiences in her first villain role (just like fellow cast member Jeon In Hwa). One of the first k-pop idols, Eugene transitioned to acting in romantic comedies and dramas on both television and film. But her role in Baker King was arguably her most challenging yet and the first role that truly showcased her, until now, untapped capabilities.
Shin Yoo Kyung is first introduced as a girl abused by her father, but finds a friend and hero in our title character Kim Tak Goo. When they reunite as adults after being separated, Tak Goo finds Yoo Kyung a strong, independent woman. The same girl he fell in love with as a kid.
But deep down, the pain of her childhood still haunts her and later thanks to mother and son Seo In Sook and Goo Ma Joon, her heart reluctantly becomes filled with hate and revenge.
The transition and development of Yoo Kyung’s character was one of the most fascinating journeys in recent Korean drama memory, if ever. Both on and off screen, seeing Eugene as Yoo Kyung going from the typical girl next door love interest to conflicted and spiteful was a wonder.
The range of emotions throughout the series for Eugene to bring to life would be a daunting task, but she effortlessly did so in what is a career performance and a wonderful taste of what she is capable of in the future.
The growth of Yoo Kyung as a character and of Eugene as an actress on Baker King is and was a wonderful experience as a viewer and just one of the best things that made the series so outstanding.