Edited by Jeon Gyeong Ju
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Jung Hae In, the one pick of many women, is now even capturing the hearts of male fans through Netflix original series D.P.. Based on the webtoon, the series was well-received both at home and abroad by plainly revealing abuse and human rights issues in the military. This time, Jung Hae In, the epitome of pure and friendly images of “younger heartthrob,” has proved that he is an actor who can pull off completely different genres by playing private Ahn Jun Ho. Let’s take a look at how his previous projects had contributed to this successful transformation.
The Three Musketeers (2014)
tvN’s The Three Musketeers is a TV series that adapted the novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas into a story set in the Joseon Dynasty. Thanks to his solid performance in his debut project, Bride of the Century, Jung was able to take on the role of Ahn Min Seo, one of the three main characters, despite being a rookie actor. The Three Musketeers originally aimed to be a seasonal action drama. Yet, contrary to the original plan, the story focused on the love triangle of crown prince So Hyun, crown princess Kang Bin, and Mi Ryeong, only becoming a typical K-drama. The ratings also remained in the 1% to 2% range and ended without a follow-up season. The project left only regrets. But Jung had flawlessly pulled off his role, Ahn Min Seo, a warrior with a beautiful appearance and the utmost faithfulness, heralding later improvements.
While You Were Sleeping (2017)
SBS’s While You Were Sleeping is a series that appropriately combines reality with fantasy for a story of young adults with the ability to see the future through their dreams coming together to get to the bottom of the cases they are involved with. Jung appeared as police officer Han Woo Tak who gets caught up in all sorts of incidents because of his ability to see the future through his dreams, just like the main couple – Jung Jae Chan (Lee Jong Suk) and Nam Hong Joo (Suzy). Woo Tak is a pure and just person who has dreamed of becoming a hero since childhood. But on the other hand, he is also a character who came heavily under fire in terms of practicality for hiding his color blindness to become a police officer. This is mostly because something like color blindness is directly linked to the safety of the people due to the nature of the work. In any case, Woo Tak played a decisive role in punishing the evil as a helper of the main characters, and Jung showcased a fruitful improvement by playing the key role without a hitch.
Prison Playbook (2017-2018)
Director Shin Won Ho and writer Lee Woo Jung’s tvN’s Prison Playbook became a unique turning point in the history of Korean dramas in that it shed light on the lives of prisoners. The actor, who has mainly played good and bright roles before, rarely took on a character with a dark shadow. Yoo Jung Woo, played by him, is a soldier branded “Devil Captain Yoo” after being put behind bars for beating his subordinate to death. From the first time he showed up, he exuded an aura of a cold and violent criminal. However, he gradually showed an unexpected side of him, such as bickering with his inmates and taking care of those in need of help. In the end, it was revealed that he was falsely accused of a murder committed by another member of the unit. And as the story progressed toward the second half, he gained viewers’ favor and sympathy. I’m sure Jung successfully dazzled everyone with his performance as a soldier in D.P. thanks to his previous experience of having to disappear into Prison Playbook’s Yoo Jung Woo.
Something in the Rain (2018)
For sure, JTBC’s Something in the Rain is Jung’s drama of his lifetime. And that’s mostly because he has risen as the heartthrob by boasting the charm that captured the heart of his friend’s sister Yoon Jin Ah (Son Ye Jin), who is 4 years his senior. Seo Joon Hee is an entirely different character from Yoo Jung Woo from Prison Playbook, which only ended 2 months before Something in the Rain aired. But still, Jung perfectly pulled off the role like he had put on a cloth tailored just for him. Considering how conspicuous he was in the series, the title of “younger heartthrob” he gained from it may have been a shackle that fixed his image as an actor until he made his comeback with D.P..
One Spring Night (2019)
MBC’s One Spring Night is a series that allowed Jung to solidify his title “the nation’s younger heartthrob.” Jung, who displayed fantastic chemistry with Son Ye Jin in his previous project, met Han Ji Min this time and showcased impeccable chemistry from their fateful first meeting. However, since it was a new work by Something in the Rain director Ahn Pan Seok and writer Kim Eun, the familiar story and directing were criticized. Even then, One Spring Night ranked first among all Wednesday-Thursday dramas, beating out projects broadcast on other networks. All in all, this proves the public’s high interest in the actor. In particular, One Spring Night’s Yoo Ji Ho is differentiated from Jung’s previous roles in that he is a single father raising his young son while harboring the pain from his past love. And of course, in the eyes of the fans, he would appear to be the perfect male lead whether he was a single father or not.
Editor Jeon Gyeong Ju: A natural-born media geek who is physically Korean and mentally multinational. All dramatic stories are my favorite sweets for life. TVs and streaming platforms are not only the playgrounds but also the weapons.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.