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‘D.P.’ to present unfamiliar side of Korean Army

Actors Jung Hae-in (left) and Koo Kyo-hwan pose for a photo after an online press conference Wednesday. (Netflix)
Actors Jung Hae-in (left) and Koo Kyo-hwan pose for a photo after an online press conference Wednesday. (Netflix)

“D.P.,” directed by Han Jun-hee, will be released Aug. 27 starring Jung Hae-in as a young private assigned to capture Army deserters.

Short for “Deserter Pursuit,” the upcoming Netflix original series shows the life of Pvt. Jun-ho (played by Jung) and Cpl. Ho-yeol (played by Koo Kyo-hwan) and reveals the reasons some soldiers try to escape the Army.

“For Koreans, the Army is a place with a lot of meaning, so I was focused on making the audience feel empathy while watching ‘D.P.,’” Han said during an online press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The series is an adaptation of a webtoon of the same title by Kim Bo-tong, which has recorded over 10 million views.

Director Han Jun-hee speaks during an online press conference Wednesday. (Netflix)
Director Han Jun-hee speaks during an online press conference Wednesday. (Netflix)

“I was a big fan of Kim’s and wanted to shoot the film after I finished working on ‘Coinlocker Girl.’ Unlike the regular soldiers, the D.P. units do not have to wear military uniforms or have short hair. I was mesmerized by the fact that 20-something-year-old young men travel around the country to chase deserters like the police,” Han said when asked why he had decided to direct “D.P.”

“As all Koreans say their biggest nightmare is joining the Army for a second time, shooting ‘D.P.’ was a very interesting experience in many ways,” Jung joked.

Young Jun-ho, having just joined the Army, is stationed at the unit with a mission to arrest deserters. Throughout the six episodes, the private meets various deserters with different stories. Jun-ho’s assignment changes the quiet private, allowing the audience to feel sorrow, rage and sympathy.

Jung’s co-star, Koo, plays Ho-yeol, a new character who was not in the original webtoon.

“The word ‘D.P.’ was unfamiliar at first, but after I was picked to star in the series, many people around me tried to help by sharing their stories from when they were actually serving in the unit,” the actor said.

When asked how it felt to play a role without a webtoon reference, Koo said it was hard but exciting to portray a character exclusive to the series.

“Director Han told me that Ho-yeol is an unpredictable person. I believe that his unconventional characteristics are very contrary to Jun-ho, making each episode more exciting and lively,” Koo said.

Koo Kyo-hwan (left) as Ho-yeol and Jung Hae-in as Jun-ho in “D.P.” (Netflix)
Koo Kyo-hwan (left) as Ho-yeol and Jung Hae-in as Jun-ho in “D.P.” (Netflix)

Toward the end of the interview, the director shared his thoughts about the work.

“I’d like the series to be seen as the stories of the viewers’ real brothers, sisters and friends, so that people can understand and know more about the Korean Army,” Han said.

Both actors shared a similar sense of excitement about bringing their work to an international audience.

“I am curious about how foreign viewers who are not familiar with the Korean military will see our work. Though the series shares the stories of Korean Army deserters, it is more about young people’s insecurity and concerns for the future. So I hope ‘D.P.’ can offer some insight into Korean youth,” Jung said.

Netflix will release the six-part series “D.P.” on Friday.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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