The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Kim Ji-yeon, Jang Da-a stress zero tolerance for bullying via 'Pyramid Game'

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : March 29, 2024 - 15:49

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Kim Ji-yeon (Tving) Kim Ji-yeon (Tving)

South Korean actors Kim Ji-yeon and Jang Da-a said they tried to convey the message of absolute intolerance towards bullying via their latest Tving original series "Pyramid Game."

Based on the webtoon of the same name, the 10-part drama series narrates the story of Sung Soo-ji (played by Kim), who transfers to a school that decides a target to bully monthly via a voting process. In the story, students are ranked from A to F based on the number of votes they get, and the person designated with the F rank is bullied for a month.

According to Tving, "Pyramid Game" was the leading title in terms of attracting new subscribers to the streaming service from the second week of March to the end of March. In addition to its domestic popularity, the series also garnered international recognition, with it becoming the sole Korean title to be invited to Series Mania this year -- the largest television series event in Europe, held annually in France.

Kim, who played the protagonist Sung in the series, said though the resolution of the series, the drama series unequivocally delivers the message that there is zero excuse for school violence.

"'Pyramid Game' clearly addresses that perpetrators remain simply as perpetrators. I liked the fact 'Pyramid Game' also highlighted the idea that bystanders are culpable, too," said Kim, during an interview held with reporters in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Tuesday.

However, in line with the drama series' popularity, a societal concern emerged as students began imitating the voting process depicted in the show in real life.

Jeonbuk State Office of Education said Monday it sent newsletters to 778 elementary and middle schools in the North Jeolla Province notifying parents of real-life instances of bullying as depicted in the "Pyramid Game."

"The message of ‘Pyramid Game’ was that school violence cannot be justified by anything. However, it's truly regrettable to see students imitating it," said Kim.

"I consider the potential loss of judgment in immature children as a natural part of their growth. I think (the recent phenomenon) highlights the need for increased attention to students from adults," added Kim.

Jang Da-a (Tving) Jang Da-a (Tving)

Jang Da-a, who played the role of Baek Ha-rin, the conniving and malicious mastermind behind the voting process, said on “Pyramid Game,” she majorly tried to focus on portraying the psychology of a bully.

"I wished Baek would appear as if she were a psycho. However, actual psychos do not perceive themselves as psychos. Therefore, I thought I shouldn't force exaggerated expressions," said Jang, during an interview held with reporters in Jongno-gu, Seoul, Thursday.

"I focused primarily on capturing Ha-rin's composed demeanor. My aim was to depict the character through nuanced expressions and delicate emotions," she said.

Jang, the older sister of the popular K-pop idol Jang Won-young of Ive, made her first debut on-screen as an actor with "Pyramid Game.”

"Given that this is my debut and my first time acting, I anticipate that as I progress in my acting career over time, I'll carve out a place for myself as an actress. By doing that, I expect the title of 'older sister of Jang Won-young' will naturally diminish," she said.

All ten episodes of "Pyramid Game" are currently available on Tving.

A scene from A scene from "Pyramid Game," starring Jang Da-a (left) and Kim Ji-yeon (Tving)