Jo Woo-jin was actually offered the role of NIS agent Choi Chang-ho in the first place but he asked director Yoon Jong-bin to let him play Byeon Ki-tae.
On September 21st, the production crew of “Narco-Saints” explained, “Choi Chang-ho, the team leader of the National Intelligence Service’s Branch in the Americas, was the third character to appear in the drama’s credit, right after Ha Jung-woo and Hwang Jung-min’s characters. It was first offered to Jo Woo-jin, whom the director thought would portray this role perfectly.”
However, Jo Woo-jin left the whole production team with a mental breakdown as he responded, “If you give me the role of Byeon Ki-tae instead of Choi Chang-ho, I will do my best”. Director Yoon Jong-bin even reacted “But why?” as he was taken aback by Jo Woo-jin’s unexpected request.
In his meeting with the director, Jo Woo-jin said, “I’m grateful to be offered the role of a cool NIS agent, but after reading through the script, I was more attracted to Byeon Ki-tae, the character that is like a wild beast and his infinite charm. This role is still available, and if you give me a chance, I promise that I will try my best to not ruin your work”, expressing his determination.
In the end, the script for Choi Chang-ho went into Park Hae-soo’s hands and Jo Woo-jin was able to create another “best character in his career” with Byeon Ki-tae. It is known that Jo Woo-jin not only learned Chinese but also built a solid body at the time he got cast. He reportedly went to work three hours earlier than the scheduled time to get special makeup, such as tattoos and beard, throughout the filming period.
Jo Woo-jin, who is considered the No.1 contributor to the global box office success of “Narco-Saints”, gained favorable reviews for his perfect performance as a character with blind loyalty, madness, and the worry of being abandoned by the ‘drug lord’ Jeon Yo-hwan. In fact, the rather boring narrative of the drama began to reach the climax starting from the 4th episode, and it was Byeon Ki-tae who played the role of a game changer.
Many viewers are even asking for a spin-off series for Byeon Ki-tae, pointing out that the winner of “Narco-Saints” is actually Jo Woo-jin. One of the numerous edited videos with Jo Woo-jin’s scenes in the drama shared on Youtube even surpassed 1 million views in two days.
Jo Woo-jin has appeared in more than 30 movies and dramas over the past 7 years after gaining recognition. It is thanks to his solid acting skills, and his original intention to stand in front of the camera with sincerity that Jo Woo-jin is able to maintain the amazing freshness in his acting performance until now