Yeo Jin-gu joins Kim Yoon-seok, Kang Dong-won in democracy film 1987
Just when I thought it couldn’t be possible to add more talent to this film, it’s like the movie gods thought, Challenge accepted, and decided to drop this on me. Actor Yeo Jin-gu (Jackpot) has joined the stellar cast of this new historic movie, although his management is still in the final stages of working out the kinks in his schedule to fit it in. He’ll be playing Park Jong-chul in period film 1987, which is about the rise of democracy during an authoritarian regime when Korea was still struggling to find its political identity as a nation.
The role Yeo Jin-gu will be playing is based on a real student named Park Jong-chul who was the linguistics department class president at Seoul University during 1987. When he participated in a protest against some of the actions of then-president Chun Doo-hwan, he was taken away for “questioning.” After multiple rounds of electric shock and waterboarding, his body could not endure anymore and he died in a cell under horrific torture in 1987. After Korean citizens learned about what happened to this young man, under the state’s orders, the public became outraged and this event eventually lead to the June Democratic Uprising.
I wanted to this film even before Yeo signed on because of the amazing lineup, but now I’m doubly excited. If we divide the cast into sides, for the government or for the people, Kim Yoon-seok (Priests) is firmly on the side of the government, playing an official who believes that state secrets (including that of Park Jong-chul’s death) must be kept no matter what for national security. In the gray area is Park Hee-soon (VIP) who actively participated in the torture until he suffered a crisis of conscience.
On the people’s side, there’s veteran actor Ha Jung-woo (Tunnel) who will play a prosecutor who believes the government has crossed a line with Park Jong-chul’s case. Lee Hee-joon (Legend of the Blue Sea) will be a reporter who lets the world know of the government’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques, while Yoo Hae-jin (Luck-Key) will be his informant. Kang Dong-won (Master) and Kim Tae-ri (The Handmaiden) are set to play Yeo Jin-gu’s fellow students who become involved in the anti-government protest movements during that time.
According to reports, Yeo Jin-gu was delighted to receive an offer to be in this film from Director Jang Joon-hwan, whom he worked with in Hwayi. It’ll also be a reunion with him and Kim Yoon-seok, who coincidentally also worked on the same film, where they portrayed a complicated son-father relationship. Another reunion I’m looking forward to is between Kim Yoon-seok and Kang Dong-won, who played a mentor-student pair in Priests, but I don’t know if they’ll actually have much onscreen time together. Also, I swear Kang Dong-won drinks unicorn blood because he really hasn’t aged much since Temptation of Wolf, but there’s more than a 15-year difference between him and Yeo so I wonder how that dynamic will look onscreen.
Now that casting is complete, filming for 1987 will begin this April. So I’m thinking early next winter release, if we’re lucky.
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