[Exclusive] Kim Nam-gil shines yet again as furious and comical priest in The Fiery Priest

Kim Nam-gil never fails to amaze us when it comes to his acting. His latest role in The Fiery Priest is just another entertaining character that we can’t help but fall in love with.

The drama is described as an “extreme investigative comedy,” in which a passionate Catholic priest (Kim Nam-gil) teams up with a foolish detective (Kim Sung-kyun) to solve the murder of an elderly priest and get caught up in the plans of a criminal group known as the “devil’s cartel.”

It aims to expose the corruption and the sin at the heart of society, while satirizing them to make them entertaining for the audience. In this way, the show is expected to help viewers release the stress of the week in watching the lifelike characters navigate social problems in a funny way.

The Fiery Priest has also garnered attention in Korea for its portrayal of a type of character we’ve never seen before in K-drama: a Catholic priest with anger management issues. Kim Nam-gil plays Kim Hae-il, a priest who can’t control his anger whenever he sees injustice and swears freely at evil people who live comfortably despite their crimes.

Moreover, Kim Nam-gil takes on many action scenes in this drama because his character was a National Intelligence Service agent before he entered priesthood. He became a priest due to a traumatic incident in his past, which will be a key point in the drama.

Saying goodbye to Kim Nam-gil on the little screen is not an easy task. Thanks to ONE HD, we managed to have an exclusive interview with the hottest priest. Read on!

1. In the Fiery Priest, you play the character of a Catholic Priest with anger management issues, which is something new in K-dramasHow did you feel when you first found out that you would be portraying this character? 

Kim Nam-gil : A priest who lost his precious person due to a mysterious incident and undergoes a trauma from that. Not only Kim Hae-il’s background is unusual but also his personality is. Normally priests are described as gentle people. I’ve never seen a priest who has anger management issues in dramas. Hae-il also beats up bad guys and is a potty-mouth. I think this makes him special.


2. What is the most difficult part about acting out your role? 

Kim Nam-gil : I’ve studied and asked around about the intermittent explosive disorder first. I was worried about how to portray Hae-il. What if viewers think Hae-il is just a person who gets angry and yells a lot? Funny thing is that people around me, including my friends and all the staffs said that I don’t need to worry because Kim Hae-il is just Kim Nam-gil. HAHA


3. Tell us about your experience working with Honey Lee. What do you admire the most about her? 

Kim Nam-gil : Since shooting drama is hard work, people you’re working with are important. I think good relationships really help to get good results. Honey and I did the drama “Shark” together five years ago. So it was comfortable to communicate and talk with her about each other’s character and scenes. When you work with someone who’s always full of energy, the atmosphere around him/her gets elated. She is a good actress and a nice person.


4. What is your message to your fans about The Fiery Priest? 

Kim Nam-gil : I’d like to talk about individuals or minorities who are being sacrificed for bigger/certain groups’ interests. Hae-il was abandoned when he was a soldier. He is a victim of both capitalism and socialism. Later he becomes a priest but there’s nothing different because these problems are everywhere in our society. What The Fiery Priest wants to say is that “We all have trials and errors to make a better place but let’s give a try once again” by pointing out problems of society. The Fiery Priest is a comedy drama but I do hope viewers catch these kinds of messages.


5. What attracted you to take up this drama? What do you like about the plot and your character?

Kim Nam-gil : When I choose dramas or films, I ask ‘Does it have a clear subject to tell the world?’ first. The Fiery Priest reflects our lives without being that serious. It tells more about people rather than God or exorcism which people can think of when they heard the word ‘priest’ first. I like director Lee because he persists subjects that he wants to deliver till the end of dramas. I love writer Park’s dramas too. They are humorous and bright even though they have serious subjects. He knows how to tell serious problems in a witty way. All of these made me attracted to The Fiery Priest.


6. Kim Hae-il is actually a righteous guy too, who will stand up for the weak. Have you also had similar righteous deeds?

Kim Nam-gil : I am a righteous guy too. HAHA. I think it’s important to speak out by doing what you’re good at. In case of me, it would be acting. By acting in different dramas and films, I can deliver people what I think. It is important to have a good influence on people as an actor and speak out for social issues. More important things are, however, to ask myself ‘Am I telling my own opinion or just someone else’s just to show off?’ or focus on what I want to tell rather than how people see me.



7. In this drama and your previous drama Live Up to Your Name, we see your comedic performances, which is really entertaining. Are you a humorous person? Or are you very serious?

Kim Nam-gil : I am. Even though I played many dark characters. In real life, I joke around a lot and my voice tone gets a bit higher. People always tell me I get a different look in my eyes whenever I heard ‘action!’. I often heard Jang Sa-jung from the film “The Pirates” is the most similar role that I’ve played. Now it could be changed to Kim Hae-il.


8. Do you enjoy comedic dramas?

Kim Nam-gil : I’ve said this in many interviews. I do! HAHA. Especially Stephen Chow’s. Strong characters are easier to portray because all I have to do is acting with strong feelings. Casual acting is much difficult to me. When actors play comedy genre, their ability to act is revealed. That is the true charm of it.



9. You have done a great variety of roles in dramas and movies. Is there any role you have yet to play and would like to challenge?

Kim Nam-gil : I used to be stressed out thinking that I have to play different characters always. Filming “The Shameless” was my turning point that made me think it is okay to play similar roles as long as I can show deeper acting. And I want to do that (showing deeper acting) so badly.


10. This year marks your 25th year in acting. How would you describe your career so far?

Kim Nam-gil : After watching “King Lear” when I was in high school, I wanted to be an actor. Then I joined a theater company and fell in love with acting deeply. At that time, I haven’t thought about being exposed to media. Acting was just true happiness for me. One day my senior actors applied for an audition on behalf of me, saying ‘Experience more!’ Luckily, I passed the audition and become an official actor, starting with a small role, here I am now.


11. What goals do you set for yourself as an actor?

Kim Nam-gil : I don’t want money or fame. I just want to act hard doing good drams/films and playing characters like right now. I want to be an actor who can tug heartstrings and fully deliver emotions.



That’s the end of the interview session. Catch the finale of The Fiery Priest on ONE HD (Astro Ch 393) at 6.10 pm today (21st Apr 2019).