[Actor Spotlight] Jung Hae-in
Jung Hae-in is in this week’s spotlight as the star of MBC’s current Wednesday-Thursday drama One Spring Night. This is only his second time in a leading role, but anyone that saw Jung Hae-in in Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food knows that he is poised for leading man success.
Born in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, Jung first debuted as an actor with a small role in 2014’s Bride of the Century. It wasn’t his first appearance (his first role was actually in an AOA subunit music video), but it was his first drama. Each subsequent role he took, no matter how small, increased his popularity and paved the way for where he is today.
Jung Hae-in seems like one of those actors who was destined to hit it big — all he needed was a couple of good roles, and an opportunity to showcase his talent. For a new leading man and pretty hot commodity right now, I’m happy to see the quality of the projects he has chosen. Prison Playbook, Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food, and One Spring Night — these are all really thoughtful and well-produced dramas.
Here are some dramaland moments from Jung Hae-in, followed by his full filmography.
The Three Musketeers (2014)
tvN’s The Three Musketeers was one of my biggest drama letdowns. I had sky-high expectations with the cast (Lee Jin-wook, Seo Hyun-jin), production team (Nine and Queen In-hyun’s Man), and a childhood of idolizing Alexander Dumas stories. The odds were in the drama’s favor, but it failed to capture me. It was either too campy or too comedic, and I was looking for epic and moody, I think. Mismatched expectations aside, this was a great bit of casting for Jung Hae-in. He played the “monk-skateer” who stole hearts in the show, and in real life (hi!). Sageuk suited him, and it was a sizable role for only the second drama of his career. The role would gain him enough attention to get cast in a few more side roles — and two great cameos.
Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (2018)
Love it or hate it, Pretty Noona was an important drama of 2018. I know a lot of people were left feeling pretty burnt by this drama (and I understand why), but I was able to forgive it for the crash landing because most of the drama was just so good. I don’t know if I’d ever seen a K-drama before this that had the same level of authenticity to it. It made me sad and happy at the same time; there was something about the intimate way we watched these two characters (Jung Hae-in and his noona, Sohn Ye-jin) interact and fall in love that made it incredibly beautiful. Jung Hae-in, and the rest of the cast, worked so well with this director, and the production brought out some lovely nuances in each performance.
One Spring Night (2019)
The best of Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food stayed with me for a long time, so I was all ears when director Ahn Pan-seok was returning with a new drama by the same writer — and lo and behold, they even attempted to cast Jung Hae-in and Sohn Ye-jin opposite each other again! This was a bit of a head scratcher, but I expected it was: a) because their chemistry was so great; and b) because the drama was going to be half apology for Pretty Noona, and half a reimagining of these characters or who they might have become if things were different. This was entirely my imagination, of course, and Sohn Ye-jin wound up declining, and instead we got Han Ji-min, hot off her success in Light Gets in Your Eyes (I guess she doesn’t need sleep). Well, the first half of this drama was hands-down lovely. It was everything that stuck to me in Pretty Noona, but with a different set of characters — and a whole new set of complications and conflicts. The drama has a lot of ground to cover still, but I’m loving the emotional depth of the performances, and especially Jung Hae-in (with a nice amount of gravitas) as the single father and pharmacist.
Jung Hae-in’s full filmography:
- Bride of the Century (2014) [Drama]
Jung Hae-in made his drama debut playing lead Lee Hong-ki’s brother in this drama.
- The Youth (2014) [Film]
Jung Hae-in appeared in one segment of this omnibus youth film that featured some big names.
- The Three Musketeers (2014) [Drama]
Heartbreaker + monk. Killer smile + fighting skills. Sorry, am I fangirling too loud? (See above)
- Blood (2015) [Drama]
I was actually following Jung Hae-in at this point already, but it wasn’t enough to get me to sit through this drama.
- Salut D’Amour (2015) [Film]
In this film, Jung Hae-in appeared as the young version of the halbae hero played by Park Geun-hyung. As a fun fact, Han Ji-min was one of the stars here — fast forward to their 2019 drama!
- Answer Me 1988 (2015) [Drama/Cameo]
Jung Hae-in had a splash-worthy cameo in Episode 13 of this wonderful drama — he played Deok-sun’s friend from middle school and upped the ante by showing interest in her.
- Yeah, That’s The Way It Is (2016) [Drama]
Jung Hae-in had a supporting role in this weekend family drama and won SBS’s New Star award.
- Night Light (2016) [Drama]
This UEE and Jin Gu drama utterly escaped me, but Jung Hae-played Lee Yo-won’s driver and bodyguard, and it looks quite melo (as opposed to mellow).
- The Moon of Seoul (2016) [Short Film]
Jung Hae-in appeared in this short film as a Dongdaemun worker.
- Goblin (2016) [Drama/Cameo]
Another splash-worthy cameo from Jung Hae-in, this time with a two-episode appearance in Goblin as Kim Go-eun’s first love.
- The King’s Case Note (2017) [Film]
Historical comedy about a king and a historical record keeper that starred Lee Sun-kyun and Ahn Jae-hong.
- While You Were Sleeping (2017) [Drama]
Thanks to Goblin, Jung Hae-in landed a second lead role in this Lee Jong-seok and Suzy drama, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
- Conspiracy: Age of Rebellion (2017) [Film]
Also known as Age of Blood, Jung Hae-in starred in this sageuk with Kim Ji-hoon and Jo Jae-yoon as the best swordsman in Joseon, and reportedly did all his own stunts for the film. Time to watch.
- Heung-boo: The Revolutionist (2017) [Film]
Another sageuk film, this time based on Korean folklore.
- Prison Playbook (2017) [Drama]
This black comedy is on my short list for sure, after hearing so many people rave about it. Jung Hae-in got a lot of praise in his supporting role as one of the inmates.
- Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food (2018) [Drama]
Jung Hae-in won his first leading role — and the heart of Sohn Ye-jin — in this totally wonderful (and at times, totally frustrating) drama.
- One Spring Night (2019) [Drama]
Jung Hae-in stars again in director Ahn Pan-seok’s latest drama, and it’s beautifully understated thus far. And I’m obsessed.
- Yoo Yeol’s Music Album (TBD, 2019) [Film]
This Jung Hae-in and Kim Go-eun romance has already been filmed, and awaits a release date. It’s fun to see these two reunite on the screen, but the story of a chance encounter/romantic timing sounds an awful lot like One Spring Night. Not that I’m complaining!
- Ignition (TBD, 2019) [Film]
This webtoon turned film is in the works, and will star Jung Hae-in, Ma Dong-seok, and Park Jung-min.
- One Spring Night: Episodes 1-2
- First look at Han Ji-min and Jung Hae-in for MBC melo Spring Night
- Pretty Noona cast and crew may reunite for another warm melodrama
- Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food: Episodes 1-6
- Jung Hae-in up to romance Sohn Ye-jin in Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food
- Jung Hae-in is the only line of defense in Conspiracy–Age of Rebellion
- While You Were Sleeping: Episodes 1-2
- Three Musketeers: Episode 1