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Nam Joo-hyuk returns to big screen in crime action 'Remember'

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A scene from the film, 'Remember' / Courtesy of Acemaker Movieworks
A scene from the film, 'Remember' / Courtesy of Acemaker Movieworks

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Nam Joo-hyuk is returning to the big screen for the first time in two years as an innocent young man who becomes embroiled in a murder plot in "Remember," directed by Lee Il-hyung, best known for his 2016 crime action film, "A Violent Prosecutor."

A Korean remake of Atom Egoyan's 2015 Nazi-hunter film of the same title, "Remember" revolves around Pil-joo (Lee Sung-min), an old man with dementia who lost his family during Japan's colonial rule of Korea (1910-45). He goes in search of vengeance against pro-Japan collaborators, whom he believes were responsible for the deaths of his family 60 years ago.

Unable to drive safely due to memory loss, Pil-joo asks In-kyu (Nam), a cash-strapped man in his 20s, to be his driver for a week without sharing details about his secret scheme. But In-kyu becomes wrongfully accused of murder and ends up accompanying the old man to try to stop his killing and prove his own innocence.

Nam, who made his first public appearance in months after a school bullying scandal, said he was drawn to the untold story.

"I couldn't take my eyes off the script that depicted a very ordinary young man who accidentally becomes embroiled in a murder plot," he said.

Nam talked about the difficulties of filming car chase scenes where he had to perform with a supercar. "It was uncomfortable driving the supercar because it was too small for me. I was also afraid I might crash the car," he said.

Actors Nam Joo-hyuk, left, and Lee Sung-min pose during an online press conference for the film, 'Remember,' Monday. Courtesy of Acemaker Movieworks
Actors Nam Joo-hyuk, left, and Lee Sung-min pose during an online press conference for the film, 'Remember,' Monday. Courtesy of Acemaker Movieworks

Lee said he had to undergo four hours of makeup each day on set to transform himself as a man in his 80s. "Initially it took about four hours, but later, the special effect makeup team got used to it and it took them about two hours," he said.

It was a challenge for the 53-year-old actor to take on the role of a much older character. "Not just the hours-long makeup, but I had to maintain a crooked position while shooting," he said. "My stunt double told me that it was the most difficult project that they had done. As an old man, my character has to fight at a slow speed yet still show his strength."

Director Lee said he wanted to feature the bromance between men of different generations. "Despite their age difference as a man in his 20s and a man in his 80s, they show great chemistry on screen," he said.

On what distinguishes "Remember" from other films that dealt with the Japanese occupation, Lee explained, "Pro-Japanese collaborators usually appear in period films, but our film is set in the present time."

"Remember" will hit local theaters, Oct. 26.


Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr


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