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. One of them being veteran actress Jeon In Hwa.
Known for good, motherly roles, Jeon dove in head first to her first villainess role as Seo In Sook, the “little madame” of a corporate empire. Determined, conniving, vengeful and strong, Seo In Sook did whatever it took to maintain her position in the home and the company and to ensure the future for her only son Goo Ma Joon.
But behind the secrets and lies, Jeon In Hwa’s performance hinted at weakness and vulnerability. Each performance building upon the one before and culminating in the series finale which had the weight of world come crashing down on her. But her final scene showing that this wouldn’t be the end for her.
It can be very easy for villains to be written as paper thin, but Seo In Sook was a character that many may consider delusionally mad, but she had purpose and a reason behind it. You hated her, loved to hate her, but there’d be moments when you saw a glimmer of light in the darkness of her ways.
Jeon In Hwa’s performance was commanding. A powerful and believable performance without treading into overdramatic hysterics. Able to pull it back before it went there, Jeon In Hwa showed her versatility as an actress. With depth and emotion, her performance easily contributed to the creative and commercial success of the series.