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Exclusive Interview: Joong Archen and Dunk Natachai Talk About Hidden Agendas, Challenges, And More 

Exclusive Interview: Joong Archen and Dunk Natachai Talk About Hidden Agendas, Challenges, And More 

JoongDunk Hidden Agenda Thai BL interview GMMTV

Okay, this was hard to keep a secret, but yes, you’ve read that title right. During our latest trip to Bangkok, we had a chance to chat with two of our favorites, some of the leading players in the Thai entertainment industry, Joong Archen, and Dunk Natachai. The actors opened up about the entertainment industry’s challenges and negativity on social media. But we also dived into a little T-Pop, and of course…Hidden Agenda, their series that’s currently airing on GMMTV. If you want to know which episode they are excited for us to see, or how Joong and Dunk are similar or different to their characters Joke and Zo, keep on reading. 😉 

The Debate Club

Zo (played by Dunk) is a university student who finally decides to approach Nita, his long-time secret crush after his friends’ nudging. He turns to her ex, Joke (played by Joong) for advice on where to start. Joke agrees to help him in exchange for getting him into the debate club where Zo is already preparing hard for a competition. But was joining the club really something that Joke had in mind, or was it just one of the first hidden agendas of the show? 😏

The debate club has an important spot in Zo and Joke’s university life, so we naturally wondered which actor would be most likely to win a debate in real life. And according to DUNK “it depends on the topic. If we talk about technology and games, I think I would win for sure. But if it’s a debate about life, it’s probably gonna be Joong.”

Star and Sky and Hidden Agenda🌻

The boys’ previous show together, Star and Sky: Star in My Mind also played with the idea of having a secret crush. But both the love and the relationship’s development are portrayed differently. With the characters also handling the challenges differently.  

Daonuea and Zo vs Dunk

“My previous and current characters, Daonuea and Zo, are both still pretty innocent. But the difference is that while Daonuea is a childish character who feels like a baby sometimes, Zo is more mature. He’s just innocent that follows and believes people without thinking much. He is pretty smart in the educational world, but still a bit naïve in real-life situations.

When we ask how these two characters compare to the actor in real life DUNK adds with a giggle “I’d say I’m also an innocent guy. Sometimes I’m not good at recognizing people’s hidden agendas either. Which I think is a bad trait to have in real life. We should be able to recognize people’s true colors when they approach us with certain intentions.

So, I’ve been learning a lot from Zo. Playing him is basically like a life lesson.”

Khabkluen and Joke vs Joong

“Khabkluen is a quiet guy that doesn’t talk much, always just nods or replies very shortly.” Then JOONG jokingly adds laughing “I had a short script, while Dunk talked a lot” before continuing to talk about his current character. “Joke is more talkative. He’s smart and a real planner who always gets what he wants. But if we have to compare them with the real-life me…”

After a big pause, JOONG reveals that’s a completely different case. “I am a positive person but I don’t create plans like Joke. And sometimes I also get quiet, I need to recharge my social battery. I think Joong is somewhat a mix of Khabkluen and Joke.” Which DUNK also seems to agree with and adds “Yeah, right in the middle.” 

Fan Reactions

We often hear actors say that they can’t or don’t want to rewatch their own works. But it was always well-known for fans that JoongDunk does not belong to this group. They are big fans of watching reaction videos on YouTube, so if nothing else, they will certainly rewatch those cuts several times.

DUNK shares that he sits down with his parents and they watch these videos together on their living room TV. “I like looking at the viewers’ faces and impressions.” And JOONG also mentions how interesting it is to hear the fans connect the dots before the characters. “Sometimes the audience can tell about the characters’ hidden agendas and thoughts even before we do.” 🕵️‍♀️

When we ask if there is a specific EP they are really looking forward to seeing the reactions to, they agreed without hesitation. “Episode 8. But no comments, haha.” DUNK still goes ahead and explains further without any spoilers “You’ll see a lot. There will be a lot of things going on and a lot of hidden agendas you haven’t realized yet.” Well…can Sundays come a bit faster, please? 🫣  

Challenges of The Entertainment Industry

Although both actors are only 22 years old, they’ve been under the spotlight for a while now. With their recent roles, they quickly rose to international stardom. And while it certainly feels like a dream-come-true success story, we know that there’s more to the entertainment industry than glamour and shine. When we ask about the challenges they had to overcome, JOONG’s initial reaction already speaks a thousand words; holding his head with a sighful laugh saying “Oh my God, so many…” So, straight away, DUNK hands the baton over to JOONG who’s been in the industry longer — working on different shows and even boy group projects under his previous companies. “Maybe you can go first.”

JOONG starts by talking about the nonstop nature of this industry. “You can’t stop, you have to improve yourself every single day. Working on your acting, and singing skills, but you also have to improve yourself, like how you manage and control yourself and your emotions, etc. People see what we do and say anytime, so we have to be careful with everything.” He then continues with an example that shows how a simple innocent sentence can be taken out of context. And become the base of an unrelated, and completely fabricated story made out of imaginative conclusions.

Social Media

Like getting from the statement “I like strawberries” to people questioning whether they like their own show… Which seems like an unreasonably big avalanche created by a single snowball. But if you’ve ever spent more than a minute on fantwitter — be it BL, K-Pop, or any genre —, you know that social media truly has no limits. “People can say whatever they want and sometimes we don’t even understand where it comes from or why they think like that” — JOONG finishes up before DUNK continues on the topic of social media.

“Everyone is free to say anything online.”

*JOONG nods in agreement* “And some people if they don’t like someone, will start throwing words at them, or engage in some form of social bullying. I think that’s another challenge in the entertainment industry because we face these comments daily. I feel like we just have to try to manage them within ourselves. Or not even look at them at all. And just look at the positive ones.”

Which luckily, they also receive a lot, and are super grateful for. But we’ll get into that in a later part of the interview. 😉 “Keeping the positive side in the front is very important. Because, of course, you can’t make everyone love you.” DUNK finished his thought before JOONG adds “Yes, so just be yourself and do your best. And if you actually do something wrong, learn from it, grow through it, and keep going.”

See Also

Music And T-Pop

Okay…time for a bit lighter topic. You all know that we love Thai music at The Honey POP and every now and then we share our latest recommendations with you. And now that we are chatting with two true insiders, you know we have to ask about T-Pop. “First of all, before we get into anything else, we recommend the Hidden Agenda songs🤭 — DUNK cheekily takes the opportunity to bring up their own OSTs before we could even ask about it. Because yes, the talented actors are also familiar with the recording studio’s setting, lending their voices to their series’ soundtrack.

JOONG got a bit more specific with his suggestions: “T-Pop is getting more famous now, and there are many great artists. If we talk about groups, you could check out LAZ1, LYKN, or 4EVE for example.” And DUNK simply adds “There are many many new songs and bands in the T-Pop industry right now. When you search for one, you’ll keep seeing the recommendations.” And we couldn’t agree more… The YouTube algorithm is the reason we discovered many of our favorites. And besides music, that also includes Thai BLs in general. 👀

Favorite lyric

But turning back a little to their own releases, we wanted to know if they have a favorite lyric or line. And JOONG puts his hands up saying “I have I have” as if he was already waiting for this question to pop up. “ขอบคุณท้องฟ้ากับแสงดาวและสองเรา (khonkhun thongfa kapsaeng daolae songrao).” Yes, JOONG actually sings this line from their Our Skyy 2 OST, and yes, we are having a hard time keeping our inner fan girls inside. And after DUNK clarified the English translation and meaning “«Thanks to the sky, the stars, and us» for helping the two of us to meet each other,” we might have let our swooning come out but who can blame us? 💁‍♀️

Thank You Note For The Fans

Before saying goodbye, we wanted to give the boys an opportunity to speak directly to all of you.

“Thank you, everyone, for your support and love. Sometimes we cannot see each other in real life because we are in different countries. We would love to go everywhere and see you all face-to-face. But we are also really grateful for the social support as well on X and Instagram. Thank you for all the messages, we’re really happy to read them. They are like really good willpower for us. When we’re stressed—whether it’s exam season or something else in life—and read all the encouragement from the fans, it feels like we have the power to continue. Thank you for being next to us in the good times and always staying with us through difficult times as well. We really appreciate it, thank you so much!”

We also want to thank Joong and Dunk for their time, and for genuinely opening up during our conversation. And for GMMTV for organizing this opportunity! While you, Honey Bees, don’t forget to tune in to GMMTV’s official YouTube channel to catch EP7 of Hidden Agenda this Sunday. And in the meantime let us know your favorite Joke-Zo moments on X, or join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT JOONG AND DUNK:
JOONG’S IG | DUNK’s IG | JOONG’s X | DUNK’s X | JOONG’s TIKTOK | DUNK’s TIKTOK

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GMMTV:
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | X | TIKTOK | YOUTUBE

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