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Jung Hae-in 'I never bullied anyone in the military' [Interview]

Actor Jung Hae-in returns with 'D.P.' Season 2

Great affection for the role of Ahn Joon-ho... "Many male fans have emerged"

The desire to return to melodrama too

Jung Hae-in shared his candid thoughts in an interview. Provided by Netflix

As always, Jung Hae-in, neatly dressed in a suit, greeted the reporters with a polite manner, looking slightly thinner than before. His unique bright and lively face was quite different from the tough appearance or rough action scenes in 'D.P.' "I'm worried that I'm getting too far from melodrama," he laughed, but in reality, 'D.P.' is one of the most vibrant and glittering works in Jung Hae-in's filmography. It's also the work that has brought him many male fans, who had been known as the "national younger boyfriend."

The Netflix series 'D.P.' Season 2, released on the 28th of last month, captures the story of Ahn Joon-ho (Jung Hae-in) and Han Ho-yeol (Koo Kyo-hwan) who still face the unchanged reality and injustice of the military's desertion arrest team (D.P.).

Jung Hae-in's character, Ahn Joon-ho, shows more solid activities in Season 2. He feels helpless against the repeating reality but struggles and grows for change. He, with his upright nature, experiences several shocking events, but he runs with all his might for a better tomorrow. The hard struggles of Ahn Joon-ho, a young soldier in his early 20s, deeply moved the viewers.

Here's a Q&A with Jung Hae-in:

-'D.P.' Season 2 has been running in 1st place since its release. Congratulations. It also reached 5th place globally on Netflix despite its Korean content. What do you think is the point that foreigners can think and enjoy?

"First of all, I'm thankful that many people are interested in our work and watch it. The reason why foreign viewers like it... First, in countries with conscription, they can relate more, and second, in countries unfamiliar with the military, curiosity and interest would be high. The military, as a group, inherently has a closed-off nature, with parts that cannot be shared in detail. I think they would be curious about those unknown aspects."

-You mentioned that filming felt like going to the military three times. Any aftereffects?

"Rather than aftereffects, I feel like I'm moving away from melodrama. Haha. It seems like it's time to do melodrama again. I did other works between Season 1 and 2, but the director has been working on this project for three years. So, from the director's perspective, the question of Season 3 is suffocating. There's a feeling of being trapped because you have to do something else. I know he's worked so hard."

-If an offer to appear in Season 3 comes, what will you do?

"If a question about Season 3 comes up, I'll be thankful. It means another opportunity to act. The set itself was warm and happy. Of course, there was hard work and squeezing pain, but from the actor's perspective, if called, I'm thankful and would run to it. I think the director needs rest. He has watched the work 150~200 times, so I think he was exhausted from a tremendous amount of editing."

-What are your memories of your time in the military?

"Speaking from my experience, my military number was in 2008. I went right after finishing my freshman year in college and was discharged at 23. I was discharged in 2010, but the background of 'D.P.' is around 2014. My uncle's or father's military stories could be different. Younger friends nowadays might experience something different too. Boldly speaking, it is still, as it was before, a difficult, unfamiliar, and tough place. You're confined and have to adapt and live with strangers. But as you continue to see them, they become good brothers and even friends. I still keep in touch."

Jung Hae-in shared his candid thoughts in an interview. Provided by Netflix

-'D.P.' is also the growth story of Ahn Joon-ho, who became a private in Season 2.

"When acting, there were moments when I couldn't apply universal military life. I learned about 'D.P.' in detail while doing it. There might be changes according to rank, but the bigger thing was the emotional line of events and accumulated stress from Season 1. We filmed Season 2 a year after Season 1, but I had to carry over the emotions from Season 1. I thought about these things a lot during the first shoot."

-Did you experience any violence or injustice during your actual military service?

"Honestly speaking, I served in the military in 2008, so it would be a lie to say that there were no injustices. I got reprimanded, yelled at, and experienced unreasonable things. What I can say for sure is that there was a trend towards a 'green barracks culture,' and I remember deciding 'I should never do this when I become a senior' after being treated this way as a private or a corporal. I never bullied anyone even once during my military service."

-What was the reaction of your fellow soldiers when they saw your work?

"My military colleagues contacted me a lot. They talked about how it was different or similar to our time in the military. Ultimately, they empathized with it, but was it a good thing? No, it was negative. Everyone went through it, and that's the story."

-Many viewers like the chemistry between An Jun-ho and Han Ho-yeol. There's a voice of regret that the buddy story from Season 1 is gone.

"The combination of Han Ho-yeol and An Jun-ho appeared less. However, I thought about whether they could be flustered after going through a big event in Season 1. Ho-yeol is a young friend in his early 20s, and it would have been shocking for him to see Jo Seok-bong holding a gun. We talked a lot with the director about how the story would continue after the incident. The ending of Season 1 shows Kim Lu-ri firing a gun, and we had to talk deeply about that. We couldn't avoid talking about the system and military structure."

-The train action was impressive, how was it to act in it?

"Both the director and I wanted the audience to feel the struggle and hardship during this action scene. Rather than being cool and flashy, we wanted the emotion to show well. When I saw the edited version, I understood. Acting inside the real train gave a real sensation of being on a train. The narrow space made action acting challenging, and it was not easy to show emotion through multiple takes."

-Some say the action lacked realism because you fought too many opponents alone.

"It's a 14 to 1 action. I lost in the end. Ha ha. I had no choice but to fight as there was no way to run in a moving train. Realistically, I couldn't have won. I had no choice but to fight since there was nowhere to run."

-How was it different to act with actors Koo Kyu-hwan and Son Seok-koo?

"Koo Kyu-hwan has a witty acting style, like a bouncing ball. It's stimulating and fun. Son Seok-koo and I acted together in 'Bulgogi Ghost Story,' but our parts were too small, so it was regrettable. We talked about how fun it would be to meet in other works."

-Was it difficult to act restrained in a dramatic situation?

"An Jun-ho's character observes more than emits energy. I thought that if I acted too energetically, the audience might lose objectivity. His acting style is more restrained, and the stress accumulates inside. I always hope that my co-actors can act comfortably with me."

-An Jun-ho has about a year left of military service, do you think the rest will go smoothly?

"There is a line at the bus stop, 'I feel like I haven't even started yet, what are you talking about?' Everyone knows that the path Jun-ho has to face will not be smooth."

-Have you felt any social changes after 'D.P.' came out?

"I haven't felt it yet. But many people have seen it, so I think those in the military will have seen it too. We have presented this work and asked questions, so I believe people will feel something from their perspective."

-What does 'D.P.' mean to Jeong Hae-in?

"It's a turning point for me. It gave me confidence, and I gained a lot of male fans. Some men don't watch romance, but 'D.P.' brought me younger male fans. It feels good when they say, 'I'm a fan, I enjoyed it.' The praise that they enjoyed the work is the biggest compliment. I was surprised that many male fans came to fan meetings."

-What advice would you give to those who are going or have been to the military?

"I know that whatever I say won't be advice. It's like telling someone who's not okay that 'it's okay.' I just hope they return safely without any injuries and that their bodies and minds stay healthy."

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