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Jung Il-woo returns to civilian life

He’s back! On November 30, actor Jung Il-woo (Cinderella and the Four Knights, Records of a Night Watchman) completed his compulsory military duty as a public service officer. He served at a care center for the elderly in Seocho-gu, Seoul. The official discharge date would have been December 2, but, as it fell on a weekend, the end date was adjusted to November 30.

Owing to his popularity both within Korea and overseas, numerous fans and reporters were present. The actor greeted the crowd to thank them for coming to see him, smiling and saying, “I say hello to you after two years. During my time of service to the elderly, I experienced and learned a lot about myself, Jung Il-woo, as a person and not as the actor Jung Il-woo. I think it’ll be a great foundation to my life as an actor going forward. I am truly thankful to all my peers and all those around me during the last 2 years.”

Back in 2016, on December 8, Jung Il-woo enlisted quietly at the Nonsan Army Training Center in Chungnam. After completing 4 weeks of basic training, he was stationed to work in public service.

Jung had previously been in a car accident in 2006 in which he sustained several serious injuries, including injuries to his wrist and pelvic bone. He suffered as well from concussion, hemorrhaging in the brain, and showed symptoms of selective amnesia. He was later diagnosed with cerebral aneurysm. Although he had sufficient grounds to request exemption from army service, instead of asking for an exemption, he chose to go into public service and worked hard to do his part in serving the country.

Before his discharge, Jung Il-woo confirmed his first post-army project: new SBS drama, Haechi, which is being planned to air in February next year. He will be playing the lead role of Prince Yeoning, also known as Lee Geum. The character is described as exceptionally intelligent and showing level-headed judgment. However, he struggles to receive recognition from others due to his birth status as half commoner and half noble. He will be working with Go Ara (Miss Hammurabi, Black) and Kwon Yul (Whisper, Bring it On Ghost).

It’s been a long two years and I’m super excited to see Jung Il-woo in anything at this point. His pre-army projects were pretty disappointing, unfortunately, and so I’m really hoping that Haechi will be a good one! Please, please be good!

Via Newsen, Seoulen

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WOW!!! It’s been two years already!? Holy cow! It’s honestly felt like just yesterday. I’m glad he’s back. I really really like him.

I’m willing to try his comeback even though I dislike sageuks.

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I just realized something. His face looks like it’s gotten a bit chubby-not as chubby like G-Dragon’s. Once it doesn’t affect their health, I think there is an upside to their service. They don’t have to care about other people/fans judging them for those 2 years and not have to do crazy things to keep off the weight.

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I saw that G Dragon photo. It made me laugh a little. It seems like only actors and idols are going to look more "chubby". I feel like pictures I've seen of civilians show they've thinned out. Not counting muscle gain.

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If that doesn’t speak of how rigorous and tiring the Kpop training and diet process is idk what does. Like imagine the army making you chubby because it’s the less tiring option😫

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yeah....its super sad to think about...

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Indeed. I remember watching a video when So Ji-sub's diet was this packaged chicken breast thing and something else. Really small portions. A Pentagon member also had something similar.

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Considering GD was underweight and un-healthily so during his MOTTE tour last year before enlistment I am so frakking glad he put on weight of any kind. (although ironically despite your statement otherwise, he had to deal with a lot of bad fan attention and judgement even in the army >.<)

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Yeah, the judgement part was off. Sigh.

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Welcome back jung il woo!

His comeback drama seems to be something up my dad's alley. My dad like saeguks ☺

I'm maybe too accustomed to plain or camouflage army shirt/uniform, since i notice the small hearts, music notes, pencils on JIW's shirt everytime i see his discharge pics 😅.

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Wait, now that you mention it, I don't get that shirt.... 😮

It has a name tag and patches that make it look like an officially issued uniform, but that pattern is... 😆

Did he make it/have it made himself or something? Lol...

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The article did mention that he served at a nursing home for elderly. So maybe that's their uniform? An uniform with less formal design to help cheer up the elderly?

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I enjoyed Cinderella and Four Knights.

This is a man who will go far I think. The fact that he served when he had a perfectly legitimate reason for exemption tells me that his heart is in the right place. Someone who is that grounded will avoid mistakes that flakier people people make.

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YAAAY! I'm here to say "Welcome OPPA!" with @greenfields. 😁

2018 was a year of sageuk drought so I'm really really happy that 2019 will start out with some flash flooding. *fans eyes like Bo Young*.

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Hahaha that's exactly what I was going to comment too! "Welcome back Oppa!" 😂😂

I'm.lookong forward to a good sageuk too. I'm a bit worried because it's been described as a fusion sageuk but I'll take whatever Jung Il Woo I can get. ^-^

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He came back sooner than I expected, not that I’m complaining. I’ve only ever watched him in Cinderella and the four knights which I loved him in despite it being bad. I’m not really a sageuk fan but I’m gonna give it a try since I luff him. Welcome back! 💕

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@inkcityxx seoul_searcher,

You could medicate with MOON RIVER / RETURN OF ILJIMAE while you wait for HAECHI. It is quite different from Lee Joon-gi's take on the same figure. Or check him out as Scheduler in 49 DAYS. For a rom-com romp, there's FLOWER BOY RAMEN SHOP, in which he plays a chaebol scamp. ;-)

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Thanks for the suggestions will do

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Wow, I guess it was fate that I started binge watching Flower Boy Ramen Shop this weekend ~ my subconscious heart sensed he was coming back 🥰🥰🥰

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Welcome back Flower Boy!!! indeed 2 years flies sooo fast..

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ugh cinderella was so bad....lol here's hoping to his next drama is good!

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Amazing! Hoping his next project is great:)

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Thanks for the latest update, @tccolb! I'm tickled to bits that Jung Il-woo is headed back to Kdramaland, and that he has been well during his time in service. The fact that his comeback project is a sageuk is the icing on the cake. Hwaiting, JIW!

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i so agree with your comment! i can't wait to see him in anything-like walking across the street!

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Im glad hes back! Hope his next oroject do well!! I give him the prize for the most chic discharge outfit since its the first time I see an uniform with hearts and musical notes lol!

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I'm happy he looks happy and healthy. Welcome back!

Also, that shirt... is a military snowstorm of cuteness?

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New military strategy: Confuse the enemy with cuteness.

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Welcome back oppa, after 2years you have a come back drama,i can't wait to watch it,i hope
More success in your career,god bless

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wooow light has returned to the the world jung ill wo me anytime ssooo ready for oppa

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I'm not a fan of Go Ara at all, and I only like about half of the sageuk dramas, but will give this a chance because it has been so long since Jung Il Woo has been on the screen that I really miss him. I really hope the project turns out to be wonderful and Jung Il Woo makes us all proud.

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I am totally with you. I couldn't wait to watch Hwarang but after first episode, I stopped watching because of her. Such a shame, with both amazing Parks (Hyung Sik and Seo Joon) it promised to be a hit but it was such a disappointment.

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@zzthorn, I second your sentiments. Welcome back, Jung Il-woo! All hail Prince Yeoning! Manseh!

For some reason that I cannot put my finger on, I'm not a huge fan of Go Ara. After watching one episode, my sixth sense told me to skip HWARANG, and I'm glad I did. (Instead, I watched Lee Jun-ik's sageuk comedy films ONCE UPON A TIME IN A BATTLEFIELD / HWANGSANBUL and BATTLEFIELD HEROS to get my fill of Shilla and its Hwarang warriors.) At times I was ready to sic a battalion of Grim Reapers with flamethrowers on her in BLACK, but some of my frustration could have traced back to the writing and/or directing, both of which were problematical. Song Seung-heon, on the other hand, was gratifyingly stupendous in the title role, which may have showed up her lack of pizzazz in comparison. I have to admit, however, that she did a terrific job in MISS HAMMURABI, despite the character's tendency to pontificate and act like a holier-than-thou twit at times. L / Kim Myung-soo gave a lovely nuanced performance as her fellow associate judge. It was heartwarming to see him hit his stride in that role. I thought he'd done well in RULER: MASTER OF THE MASK, and he was even better playing the judge.

Speaking of returning from military service, MISS HAMMURABI was Ryu Deok-hwan's comeback. He and Lee Elijah stole the show on more than one occasion. Manseh, King Gongmin! And now Jung Il-woo joins him back in Kdramaland.

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I started to dislike Go Ara when she was in a drama with Lee Seung Gi, something like "We Have You Surrounded" While Lee Seung Gi can make most of his cast mates look good, she just grated on me and I cringed at their "relationship" I did watch Hwarang, but regretted it. I have not watched Miss Hammurabi, but, since you say that she did a terrific job in that, maybe I will give it a try and hope that my opinion of her changes. :-)

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@zzthorn, I should preface my recommendation with the proviso that MISS HAMMURABI is a courtroom drama. In certain ways, it reminded me of LIVE, which was basically a character study of people who serve as police officers. In this case, the parties are judges. It deals with a certain amount of procedural stuff, but also the ramifications of law in the real world, and life outside the judges' chambers. It was more interesting than I may have made it sound.

Do watch the show for the entire cast. I was tickled to see Lee Chul-min, who sympathetically portrayed a desperate father in his cameo in ROMANTIC DOCTOR, TEACHER KIM. I was even more stoked to see Sung Dong-il in the cast. He was excellent as the presiding judge of the team. I first saw him in MISS GRANNY, but didn't even recognize him as the villain in LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA. His police chief performance in LIVE was top-notch, and turned me into a fangirl. Not only did his character exert a beneficial influence in court, I suspect that his acting prowess could have rubbed off on the younger actors as well.

Ryu Deok-hwan is another fine performer whose acting slays me. He has tremendous presence, and riveted my attention with his turn as King Gongmin in FAITH. He was fantastic in LIKE A VIRGIN, as well as MY SON with Cha Seung-won, and the thriller OUR TOWN. His character arc with Lee Elijah provided some nicely nuanced levity amidst the serious business and politics in the courthouse.

Re: Go Ara, there were some interesting discussions in the MISS HAMMURABI recap threads on the symbolism of the three main judges. It went a long way toward explaining what made each of them tick. The title character was supposed to be an idealist, IIRC, and her attitudes and rash behavior bore that out.

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Thanks for all that information! I think I'll wait a few more weeks before I give it a try. I'm still recuperating from the emotional roller coaster of The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.

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RE: @zzthorn December 3, 2018 at 2:10 PM

You're most welcome. And I know what you mean about needing a break after the finale of THE SMILE HAS LEFT YOUR EYES. That and several other shows put me off my Kdrama feed a bit over the past couple of weeks. ;-)

When you do get around to it, enjoy L's performance. He does a great job in this show.

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Oh no! I wish you hadn't said that! I only saw L in one drama and I felt he was the absolute worst actor I had ever seen. His performance was embarrassing. I think that was Ruler Master of the Mask. I haven't watched him in anything else and never gave him another chance. I know there are a lot of people out there that like this guy, so my comment here will likely get attacked, but honestly, I really don't think I can sit through another drama with that guy in it. On the other hand, I had similar feelings about the acting of Suzy and then she appeared in a drama with Lee Jung Suk and her acting appeared to have improved greatly. I thought maybe it was the chemistry between the two.

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@zzthorn December 3, 2018 at 5:47 PM

Please don't freak out. L does a great job as an admirably righteous judge. ;-)

Adapted from the writings of a working judge, MISS HAMMURABI deals with the practice of law as an internal process of the judges presiding over cases. It's a unique proposition, and has colored my views of subsequent courtroom dramas (YOUR HONOR, SUITS, LAWLESS ATTORNEY, and ROOM NO. 9, which deals with a death-row inmate and a morally-compromised lawyer at a rotten-to-the-core law firm).

I mentioned L in my original post in the spirit of full disclosure. I've seen some of his earlier work (SINGLE CUNNING LADY, in which the now-fantastic Seo Kang-joon was also very, very green, and SHUT UP FLOWER BOY BAND, in which he plays guitar in Eye Purification in the shadow of Lee Min-ki's immortal Joo Byung-hee).

I'm a sageuk fan, and can assure you that RULER was a pleasant but lightweight fantasy diversion that at times was campy. It wasted a lot of talented actors, among them Heo Jun-ho (fabulous in BEAUTIFUL MIND and COME HERE AND HUG ME) and a passel of sageuk stalwarts. I watched it following REBEL, which was terrific from first to last, while chilling out between a bunch of intense dramas that included: LOOKOUT, CIRCLE, DUEL (Yang Se-jong's quadruple performance is daebak), tragic tour de force SEVEN DAY QUEEN, sadly underwhelming MY SASSY [JOSEON] GIRL, and Yoon Si-yoon's retro timeslip BEST HIT. I nearly dropped RULER after the first 3 weeks, but hung in because I enjoyed the music and it was fun to watch Yoo Seung-ho, who often does genres I don't care for. That said, methinks L was extending his acting range into villainy. It was also his first sageuk role, with the attendant speech and conventions. Even so, I thought he did a good job. When I next saw him in MISS HAMMURABI, the improvement in his eye acting and expressiveness was instantly apparent. And it certainly helped to have a much better script than RULER's. ;-)

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Replying to your next comment here. People keep raving about Signal and My Ahjussi, but in my humble opinion Miss Hammurabi had a way better script. One of the best writing among recent dramas.

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Shame that his first pairing is with Go At a. Hope it is not going to be like Hwarang - zero chemistry. I am looking forward to seeing more of him now.

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Happy to have him back...but please tell me that this drama is not alla bout tears...Go Ara and tears are not a good combination.

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Nooooo!! Why Go Ara??? I had been good waiting for his return, and his first project is with her?

I am still traumatized with Go Ara in Hwarang, so I will have to much longer to see Jung Il Woo in another drama

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