“The Owl”, the film created with the unique material of the hemeralopia and based on the story of Injo, the 16th King of Joseon who is very friendly to the public, will premiere soon.
At 11 a.m on October 18th, the press conference for the movie “The Owl” was held at CGV Yongsan I-Park Mall in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. Director Ahn Tae-jin, actors Yoo Hae-jin, Ryu Jun-yeol, Choi Mu-seong, Jo Sung-ha, Park Myung-hoon, Kim Sung-chul, Ahn Eun-jin, and Jo Yoon-seo attended the event and revealed various stories about their new work.
The movie “The Owl” is a thriller that tells about a blind acupuncturist, who can only see things at night, struggling desperately to reveal the truth after witnessing the death of the Crown Prince. This work was completed by adding cinematic imagination to the mystery surrounding the death of Crown Prince Sohyun, who was recorded as “a person who died because of drug addiction”.
Revealing the reason why he took the megaphone for this film, director Ahn Tae-jin said, “About four years ago, the CEO of the movie company suggested an item, so I started it. It was about a protagonist with hemeralopia (day blindness) entering the palace and witnessing a secret. I got interested in that story so I began to write the scenario.”
The director also explained the movie preparation process. He said, “I couldn’t find any movie or drama reference about day blindness. It was my first time trying it, so I had to find out about how people with day blindness look and feel. I interviewed them and listened to them telling their own stories then tried to express the character in my work as close to them as possible.”
Yoo Hae-jin, who plays King Injo in the movie, shared, “It looks like any other work to some extent, but the scenario was very thrilling. I kept feeling curious about the next page. It was my first time playing the King and I was greedy about acting a kind of character that I had never tried before”, adding “I wanted to become a different king. I tried to portray lots of psychological details and made the external expression of nervousness on my face.”
Yoo Hae-jin will appear on the screen as the King for the first time in his acting career. He shared, “Playing the King is quite comfortable. I had been rolling around doing this and that but now I only needed to stay still and they put clothes on me. The outfit gave me a different feeling and a change in my mind. It was such a new experience”, drawing laughter.
Ryu Jun-yeol took on the role of Kyung-soo, the acupuncturist who suffers from day blindness. At the press conference, the actor said, “I had a chance to meet people who are blind and have day blindness. While preparing for this role, I learned many new things about the blind, and I received a lot of help in order to express the state of being blind accurately in the movie”, adding “As an actor, I asked for advice on how to express a blind character and observed the characteristics of the blind while actually spending time together with them”, explaining the process of him portraying his character.
Camera director Kim Tae-kyung said, “I couldn’t find any existing work or data to take reference of in expressing blindness. Various filters were produced and tested to express Kyung-soo’s point of view”. Ryu Jun-yeol added, “There was nearly no data for us. It is important for us to express how people with day blindness look in an accurate way while making the audience understand and accept it well. That’s why we tried to make it more interesting”, adding “Camera director Kim Tae-kyung did lots of tests and I was very satisfied with the result.”
Choi Moo-sung will transform into Lee Hyung-ik, who takes care of the sick Crown Prince. He revealed a behind-the-scene story, saying “I paid lots of attention to how to look like a doctor”, adding “There is a scene where I have to do acupuncture, so I went to meet oriental doctors to receive their advice and practice.”
Regarding his reunion with Ryu Jun-yeol after a long time since their last work tvN’s “Reply 1988”, Choi Moo-sung said, “There’s a scene in the movie where we walk holding hands. Isn’t it awkward for many men to hold hands? However, I felt warm and not awkward at all because I acted like I was holding my son’s hand”.
Ryu Jun-yeol then added, “It was really hard to meet him again, but I felt so nice as we got the chance to act together after a long time. On the first day we met, I felt like I was on the set of ‘Reply 1988’ again. I also told him about that feelings”.
Jo Sung-ha was in charge of Lord Choi, the prime minister in the Joseon Dynasty, who plans a new future for Joseon. Explaining the reason for his appearance in “The Owl”, Jo Sung-ha said, “I was interested in the painful story of Prince Sohyun, but I think I read this script with more interest because it tells about both Prince Sohyun and King Injo”. He continued, “I read the script in a hurry from the beginning until the end, and there were many twists and turns in the story. It’s important to take a close look at it without missing any detail”, giving advice for viewers to watch the movie.
Park Myung-hoon, who plays Man-sik, a member of the National Assembly who helps Kyung-soo, shared, “As a fan of Ryu Jun-yeol, I wondered how our combination would come out. I felt so satisfied that we got to talk a lot on the filming set and create good chemistry”, adding “Man-sik is like a point for resting in the movie. Therefore, I discussed a lot with the director about how to make the character more fun”.
Ryu Jun-yeol continued, “I actually didn’t have time to rest because of the tension in the movie, but every time Park Myung-hoon appeared, I could breathe comfortably. He played the role of a mood maker”, raising the viewers’ curiosity about the work.
Taking on the role of Crown Prince Sohyun, who died of a misfortune, Kim Sung-chul shared, “I was concerned about what I would have been like in that case. Prince Sohyun is a person who was working hard to make Joseon a better country, so I had to do many things to emphasize that point.”
The actor then said, “As the problem with his father King Injo and troubles arise, Crown Prince Sohyun faces an unfortunate death. In history, it was recorded as ‘sudden death’ or ‘suspicious death’. I was curious about what would have happened to the country if Crown Prince Sohyun had been alive and led Joseon”, confessing his feelings while preparing for his character.
Since “The Owl” is his first historical work challenge, Kim Sung-chul shared, “As Yoo Hae-jin sunbaenim said before, the outfit seems to make us feel the power. It’s my first time wearing a costume like that, too. And I thought, ‘This is the feeling that these special clothes bring’”. He recalled the filming period and said, “Those points allowed me to maintain a straight posture without having to express anything. I was put in such a perfect place that I actually trusted and followed the director’s directions without any doubt.”
Ahn Eun-jin will be challenging her first villain role play transforming into concubine Jo, who is greedy for power. Introducing her character as “the evilest woman in Joseon”, Ahn Eun-jin said, “She is a person who tries to have everything she desires by any means. She has some stories to tell together with King In-jo and Lee Hyung-ik.”
Regarding her movie debut with “The Owl”, the actress said, “In fact, I felt burdened because it was the first time trying such a character. I kept wondering whether I could do it, but thanks to the director’s encouraging words, I became more confident.”
The role of Kang Bin, the wife of Crown Prince Sohyun, was played by Jo Yoon-seo. Referring to the movie, she confessed, “It was a challenge for me. My character this time was contrary to all of that I had played so far, and it was my first time playing the role of a mother”, adding “While reading the script, I was worried if I could express the presence and charm of a Crown Prince’s wife.”
Revealing that her fears disappeared as soon as the shooting started, Jo Yoon-seo said, “However, when I went to the set and wore the costume, I suddenly looked like Kang Bin, and my acting came out naturally because I was accompanied by the amazing acting performances of many great seniors. The director led me so well that I thought I had fun without much difficulty when I started filming”, showing her satisfaction.
Lastly, director Ahn said, “The genre of our movie is a thriller. So I thought about how to make the audience feel more thrilled, and it would be more fun if they can feel that they are actually in that era. That’s why I tried to be faithful to the historical evidence and express it with realistic costumes”.
Meanwhile, “The Owl” is the debut film of director Ahn Tae-jin, a former assistant director of “The King and the Clown”, which gathered as many as 10 million viewers. Above all, the combination of Kim Tae-kyung, the camera director of “Sado”, “Believer”, together with costume director Shim Hyun-seob and art director Lee Ha-joon (“Parasite”, “Okja” and “The Face Reader”) also raises the viewers’ expectations for the high completeness of the work. “The Owl” will be released on November 23rd.