[INTERVIEW] CNBLUE's Jung Yong-hwa says military hiatus helped his smooth career transition into acting

[INTERVIEW] CNBLUE's Jung Yong-hwa says military hiatus helped his smooth career transition into acting

Singer and actor Jung Yong-hwa played a con man in KBS’s occult comedy series, “Sell Your Haunted House.” Courtesy of FNC Entertainment

By Lee Gyu-leeJung Yong-hwa ― actor, singer-songwriter, leader of K-pop boy band CNBLUE, and TV reality show host ― is known for his sweet voice and nice-guy image, which are perfectly suitable for a romance series.Jung, 31, stepped out of his comfort zone to break his iconic image, returning to the small screen after four years in the role of a cunning con man in KBS’s occult comedy series, “Sell Your Haunted House,” which wrapped up earlier this month.”With this series, I wanted to show a different image of myself that I haven’t shown through previous series,” the actor said during an interview with The Korea Times via Zoom, Tuesday. “This is the first TV work I took on after completing my mandatory military service. Until now, I’ve only done romance or rom-com. But I was able to try out a different genre with ‘Sell Your Haunted House,’ which was very meaningful and interesting. I had a lot of fun.”The actor revealed that he put in a lot of time contemplating and choosing the first series after his military hiatus. He enlisted in the mandatory service in 2018 and was discharged in November 2019. “While serving in the military, I thought about the piece I should choose (as an actor),” he said. “Like with music, I like challenging myself so I was drawn to the occult theme of ‘Sell Your Haunted House’. And as I was reading the script, it had comedy, action, and the supernatural, which made me think ‘This is it.'”
[INTERVIEW] CNBLUE's Jung Yong-hwa says military hiatus helped his smooth career transition into acting

A poster of the series / Courtesy of KBS

He added that Jang Na-ra as the co-lead gave him confidence in choosing the series. “I’ve always wondered how she chooses such great pieces to work on. So when I heard that she’s starring, I really wanted to work with her,” he said. Directed by Park Jin-suk, who directed “School 2017,” the mystery-comedy series revolves around an exorcist, Hong Ji-ah (Jang), who runs the family business as a real estate agent specializing in haunted properties. She performs exorcisms to get rid of lingering spirits and helps sell the properties.Jung’s character, Oh In-bum, comes into Ji-ah’s life when he devises a scheme targeting one of her clients through a fake exorcism. Using his ability as a medium, he convinces her that he could be of help in performing exorcisms and partners up with her in business. As he becomes possessed by the spirits during the exorcisms, he learns different stories and issues that kept them from transitioning into the afterlife.The actor has garnered praise for his performance with such a layered character, who has a dark past of losing his family and growing up with his spiritual ability, but hides them under a lighthearted personality.

[INTERVIEW] CNBLUE's Jung Yong-hwa says military hiatus helped his smooth career transition into acting

A scene from the series / Courtesy of KBS

Jung said he has grown to be more comfortable in putting himself into a character with this work. “Before I began my military service, I used to overthink everything, like I was too ambitious. But afterwards, I learned to give myself more space and become more relaxed, which was also reflected in my acting,” he said, adding that he was too strict on himself in his 20s. “And this also helped me to be more creative… this was the first series that I tried not to pressure myself to be perfect. And because of that, I felt more comfortable playing my character, instead of wearing myself out by trying to look cool.” Adding that he has learned a lot from his co-star Jang, who has over 20-years of acting experience, Jung said she guided him to break his pattern in acting. “I loved every part of working together,” he said. She would compliment me and encourage me by saying things like, ‘you’re doing so well, but it would be even better if you try this,’ instead of just telling me what to do or how I should act. She helped me to break the pattern that I locked myself into, which I’m very thankful for.”When asked if he has plans for music, he said he found musical inspiration while working on the series. “I was getting ideas for songs while taking part in this series, and I hope to make an album sometime,” he said. “I am continuing to write songs so it won’t take too long… but I’m the type of person who waits until things are ready, and I have too many things I want to try right now, which is a problem.”

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