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Jang Keun-suk feels ready for his long-anticipated comeback

By Lee Si-jin

Published : Jan. 26, 2023 - 16:12

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Jang Keun-suk plays lawyer-turned-detective Do-han in Jang Keun-suk plays lawyer-turned-detective Do-han in "Decoy" (Coupang Play)

Though his new character Do-han in the upcoming crime thriller series “Decoy” seems a departure from his previous roles, Jang Keun-suk is certain that he will not disappoint his fans, who have been waiting a long time for his return.

“Time flies. Even I didn’t expect it would be so long before my next project. But I can assure you that ‘Decoy’ was the series, which makes the last five years not in vain. Whenever I visited the on-site shooting location, discussed ways to improve the scenes with actors and staff, I felt alive,” Jang said in a press conference at Megabox Coex in Seoul, Wednesday.

Playing a hard-boiled, aggressive detective for the first time in his 26-year acting career, Jang expressed a mixed bag of emotions.

Jang Keun-suk poses for photos after a press conference at Megabox Coex in Seoul, Wednesday. (Coupang Play) Jang Keun-suk poses for photos after a press conference at Megabox Coex in Seoul, Wednesday. (Coupang Play)

“‘Decoy’ will be the first series to show my performance in five years. I wanted to challenge myself and show a different side, which is far different from what I have been doing before starting my two-year mandatory military service in 2018,” the actor said.

Jang added that he was concerned about misinterpreting the character and creating Do-han who does not match the stories of “Decoy.” The actor talked over even the small details with the director and screenwriter, from makeup to clothes. Jang said he took additional acting training sessions to hone his performance.

Jang said that the five-year break allowed him to grow both as an actor and a person.

“As an actor, I personally felt a huge catharsis after hearing the public praise me for my role in the 2009 mystery film ‘Where the Truth Lies.’ Many people commented that they did not expect to see a new side from me and my performance as an actor. I wish I can receive this reaction once again with ‘Decoy,’” he said.

“Decoy” is a 12-part series, which centers around the man behind South Korea’s biggest financial fraud case, who dies while in hiding from the victims and police. The story develops as the deceased criminal is named as a suspect in a new serial murder case, eight years after his death.

Jang plays a lawyer-turned-detective, who tries to reveal the truth behind the mysterious case.

When asked whether the series is based on the true stories of con artist Jo Hee-pal, who took about 4 trillion won ($366 billion) from more than 40,000 people in a pyramid scheme played out from 2004 to 2008, director Kim Hong-sun explained that “Decoy” is not based on a specific person or event.

“There were increasing numbers of murder cases in the early 2000s. The screenwriter’s personal experience also played part in our project and we wished to present some of those tragedies throughout the series,” Kim said.

The first two episodes of the 12-part crime thriller will be available Friday on local streaming service Coupang Play. Following that, two episodes each will be released over the next two Fridays.

After a short break, “Decoy” will return with part two in the first half of the year to present the remaining six episodes, according to the streamer.