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Nam Joo-hyuk avoids elephant in room during ‘Remember’ press conference

Oct. 13, 2022 - 17:17 By Song Seung-hyun

Nam Joo-hyuk poses for photos after a press conference at CGV Yongsan in Seoul on Wednesday. (Acemaker Movieworks)

Despite the expectation that rising star Nam Joo-hyuk, 28, would address a series of bullying allegations raised against him, the actor avoided facing the elephant in the room after a press screening of his new film, “Remember,” at CGV Yongsan in Seoul on Wednesday.

It was the first offline event that the Korean actor has attended since allegations of his involvement in bullying that occurred in middle and high school, about 10 or more years ago, emerged in June.

“It has been almost two years since I shot this movie ‘Remember’ and today I watched the film for the first time,” Nam, dressed in a black suit, said at the beginning of the press conference.

The actor had hinted that he was not willing to talk about the bullying issue in public in his first press appearance for “Remember,” held online on Sept. 26. The move was unusual, as press conferences had mostly returned to in-person events by then. He will also not participate in promotional events for the film, including press interviews.

In responding to the school bullying allegations, Nam’s agency Soop said that it sought to verify the facts through various channels and found the allegations were "not true." The agency added that it would take legal actions against those who continued to spread the rumors.

In “Remember,” directed by Lee Il-hyung, Pil-Joo (Lee Sung-min), an Alzheimer's patient in his 80s who lost his entire family during the Japanese colonial era at the hands of pro-Japanese collaborators, decides to execute a lifelong revenge plot before his memory fails him. Pil-joo enlists In-kyu (Nam) to help him, without letting him in on the details of his scheme.

“When we were shooting the film (two years ago), I was very nervous at the beginning, but as we worked on the film I became comfortable and also (Lee Sung-min) made me feel at home, and it really helped my character to create synergy with his character. I came to enjoy going to work and really looked forward to it,” Nam said.

The film is a remake of the 2015 German film “Remember,” about an elderly Holocaust survivor with dementia who sets out to kill a Nazi war criminal in retaliation for the death of his family.

“When I watched the original film I thought that the story fits well with our country's situation,” the Korean director said.

Director Lee also added that he loved how the film touches on a historical topic but is set in the present.

“Normally, history is featured through period films, but the original film followed an elderly man living in the present time," he said.

Diverging from the original film, the Korean remake added a young man, In-kyu, who is in his 20s.

“By adding the In-kyu character I wanted to add the perspective (on history) of people in their 20s,” he said.

“I am not trying to say that the pro-Japanese collaborators must be punished. I wanted to raise questions on how we should look at history and let audiences think about what is right and what is wrong naturally while following the story.”

The film hits local theaters on Oct. 26.