EXCLUSIVE: Krystal, Jang Dong-yoon talk about sci-fi drama ‘Search’ now airing on iQIYI

K-pop star and actress Krystal, aka Jung Soo-jung, and actor Jang Dong-yoon are currently starring in the OCN sci-fi K-drama “Search,” which is being streamed exclusively on iQIYI outside South Korea.

Krystal plays the role of intelligent and fierce lieutenant Son Ye-rim while Jang Dong-yoon’s character, Yoon Dong-jin, is a military dog handler and sergeant. The drama focuses on a search party that faces monstrous creatures in their struggle to escape a demilitarized zone (DMZ).

Jang Dong-yoon (left) and Krystal in “Search” (iQIYI International)

Manila Bulletin had an interview via email with Krystal and Jang Dong-yoon where they talked about their roles, careers and personal life.

Jang Dong-yoon: Rising in popularity

Jang Dong-yoon debuted in 2016 and played a leading role in the 2018 drama “A Poem a Day.” Last year, he starred opposite Kim So-hyun in “The Tale of Nokdu” for which he won an excellence award for acting at the 2019 KBS Drama Awards.

With accolades and good projects coming his way, Jang Dong-yoon said, “I only focus on the present. The past is just the past for me and I only focus on what I'm doing now. That's why I often try to forget the dramas I've acted in the past.”

“Search” is a military drama that involves a lot of action scenes. For this, he said, he bulked up to fit the role.

“The role I played this time is a member of the search team. It has high requirements for the actor’s physical appearance. So yes, I did work out to gain weight and look fit,” he said.

Since his role is a military dog handler, he underwent training for this and his being a dog lover also helped.

“I learned how to manage military dogs at the training school. There were two unforgettable scenes with the military dog. One was when I was looking for him when he was lost, and the other was when I was searching for missing people with the military dog. I’m both a dog person and a cat person,” the 28-year-old actor said.

Jang Dong-yoon (iQIYI International)

Jang Dong-yoon said that since he plays the starring role in “Search” and that this is the first time to act in a military drama, he feels pressured.

“This is the first time that I tried my hand at this drama genre, and, of course, there was pressure. As for acting role models, I tend to draw on the strengths of many actors/actresses and take them as my role models, rather than taking a particular senior actor/actress as my role model,” he said.

If he is given the chance to choose the role he wants to play in a drama or film, he said, “I want to play the characters that speak in dialect, characters that serve the public such as journalists and lawyers, and I also want to play the role of a father in a piece of work with a humanist background.”

His message to his fans in the Philippines is, “We worked very hard to make this drama, so I guess it will be fun to watch it. Thank you to all the fans who watch ‘Search’ and enjoy my acting.”

Krystal: From K-pop star to actress

Krystal, 25, debuted in 2009 in the K-pop girl group f(x) and has ventured into acting. Her drama credits include "The Heirs," "The Bride of Habaek," "Prison Playbook" and "Player." Last month, Krystal, who now uses the stage name Jung Soo Jung, has signed up with a new agency, H& Entertainment.

“Search” is her Korean drama project this year and for her role as a military officer Son Ye-rim, she trained for the action scenes and worked out.

“To better portray this role as a female officer, I went to talk with real female officers, learned and practiced the actions we were going to use in the shooting process. To maintain good physical strength, I did a lot of workout. But I didn’t try to go on a diet when we were shooting. I just had more water than usual and had a more regular diet,” she said.

She added, “Everything seems to be a great challenge for me in portraying this character.”

Playing the role of a military officer opened a new perspective, saying, “It’s rather a different experience than a different idea. In the past I only knew that being a military officer is tough. Now that I’ve acted as one, I feel like I respect them even more.”

Krystal (iQIYI International)

In “Search,” there are a lot of dangerous situations that face the characters and Krystal said personally she’s not an adventurous person.

“I don’t like adventures, or things that might get myself hurt or get myself in danger. I would be thoroughly prepared if I were to do something dangerous,” she explained.

In playing Son Ye-rim, Krystal said that “the greatest challenge in portraying this role as a military officer is that I have to remember and be familiar with lots of military jargon. Besides that, as an officer, I have to remain calm the entire time and refrain from revealing my true feelings.”

As to her role and herself, she said the similarity is that “we’re both straightforward, which is what makes us similar. In terms of our differences, I think she’s more calm and composed, while I’m the complete opposite.”

Krystal said she decided to star in “Search” because “the script is interesting and this character as a female officer is quite unique.”

She said she has two upcoming movies: “More Than Family” and “Sweet and Sour.”

“The roles I played in these two movies will give the audience a fresh idea about myself. As an actress, I hope that I’d be able to act in more good works,” Krystal said.