According to actors Jang Keun-suk and Yeo Jin-goo, the lackluster performance of their drama series “Jackpot” is disappointing, but not thoroughly disheartening.
“The title of the series is ‘Jackpot,’ so there was a certain pressure for it to do well,” said Jang Keun-suk, who stars as the hotheaded hero Dae-gil in the period piece, at a group interview Friday at SBS’ headquarters in Tanhyeon, Gyeonggi Province.
“Jackpot” depicts a fierce battle between Dae-gil, a prince who has been deprived of the throne, and his younger brother Prince Yeoning, played by Yeo. Veteran actors Jun Kwang-ryul and Choi Min-soo are also regulars on the show.
Despite its star-studded cast, “Jackpot” has not been performing well in ratings — its last episode achieved an average viewership of 9.6 percent, according to the ratings company Nielsen Korea, It is outdone by KBS’s courtroom comedy “My Lawyer, Mr. Jo,” which airs in the same time slot at 10 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and boasts a 15.3 percent viewership.
“For me, personally, I’m playing a character that is completely different from anything I’ve done so far,” said Jang, whose pretty-boy looks in TV series such as the 2009 “You’re Beautiful” made him a popular star.
“Jackpot” has Jang eating snakes and performing intense action sequences.
“Here, I’m able to give my all to express something as an actor,” he said. “I think I’ve been able to peel another layer of my acting career through this role.”
“It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t disappointed at all,” said Yeo. “But we still have eight episodes left, and there are lots of complex relationships left to be explored.”
For Yeo, the opportunity to work with some of Korea’s most renowned actors like Choi Min-soo, who plays King Sukjong on the show, has been an eye-opening experience, he said.
“It’s always a shock to see (Choi) on screen, because of the energy he exudes,” said Yeo. “There was a scene where he depicted King Sukjong high on opium … and when he’s acting right in front of you as if he is in a trance, it gives you the chills.”
The 24-part drama series, which began airing on SBS on March 28, is directed by Nam Geon and written by Kwon Soon-gyu.