'26 Years' Im Seulong "Invisible hand? I don't mind at all"

Though Im Seulong (25) would feel sad when he hears this, the sentence "Ouh~ that guy is really just..!" automatically spewed out of my mouth. But that sentence is not directed to Im Seulong. It is a comment directed to the rain on everybody's parade, Kwon Junghyeok. If only it's possible, I just want to grab a rope, tie him tightly somewhere, and leave him there.

The movie "26 Years" (Directed by Jo Geunhyeok, Cheongeoram Productions) was based on the Pro Democratic Movement in Gwangju on May 18th, 1980. Im Seulong played the role of Kwon Junghyeok, a police officer who was determined to bring justice to the world after witnessing the death of his sister, who was shot by Gye-eom. Moreover, he also became the source of information during the operation when he somehow got involved with the main character, which was "that person" (Jang Gwang).

"Kwon Junghyeok was quite a pain in the neck, wasn't he? All he does is mess everything up *giggles*… I heard anybody who watches the movie would go 'Aigoo~' and kept letting out sighs of relief. Most people probably just want to punch him in the face. I also had these exact impressions when I watched it. And so, I was quite worried if the audience would hate me too much because of this. But putting that aside, I do hope you'd enjoy watching it. Since I'm not the real Kwon Junghyeok, please don't hate me too much. Haha."

◆ Thanks to "26 Years", I became a man with more knowledge
Recently, Im Seulong suffered a fracture on his entire left foot and toe when he was exercising, and even received surgery because of it. It must have been quite uncomfortable as he limped into the interview. But to our relief, he told us that the pain was mostly gone by now and tried to make us feel at ease. As I asked him, "How in the world did you get into this state?" he reveals his inner regrets and answered, "It's because of [26 Years]."

"I was told to lost some weight before we start promoting the movie, so I began to workout. But when we filmed the movie, there were a lot of gatherings with the fellow seniors. I gained about 8~9kg because of this. So in this state, I thought it just won't work, so I just started working out abruptly. I managed to lose 9kg in just 3 weeks. But because I started working out so suddenly, I started to develop anemia. And so, I ended up injuring my foot when I had put on too much pressure on it. This is all because of those gatherings~" He confessed as he cutely whined. Borrowing the sayings of his member Jo Kwon, he said it's an injury that is rarely seen on a ballad singer and started to elaborate on that topic alone.

Though we kept joking with each other, he is no doubt a young man who turns serious once we start talking about "26 Years." The said masterpiece that brings a lot of meaning to himself, "26 Years." No doubt that film-wise, the contents of the movie prove to be very meaningful, but as an actor, he expressed his thankfulness on how this movie has saved him and even widened his acting spectrum. Moreover, he also came to develop "a heart that cherishes one's country." It may seem like a sentence that could have been written by an elementary student during an essay homework, but he expressed how he became more patriotic as he was filming for "26 Years."

Im Seulong, who had searched for old newspapers ahead of filming for the movie. He calmly read over the political column and learned about politics as he moved on to the history column right after. He even read each and every page of the economy and the general news column. "I wouldn't know whether it's possible to have perfect knowledge as I live my life, but one thing I'm sure of is through this movie, I was given the chance to understand how the world actually spins."

"When you're in school, you know how you start memorizing things for exams, right? For example, the question would be "When was the 5.18 Gwangju Pro-Democracy Movement created?" like this. And then through this good chance, you'll eventually learn about the whole page of this subject. As if it's like that, I thoroughly searched for documentaries, books, materials, etc. that are related to the events on the 18th of May and prepared myself with it. I think by doing this, I didn't embarrass myself by having zero knowledge when I joined the filming.. thanks to this movie, I have become a man with more knowledge, which is good."

◆ An invisible hand? What does it matter!
There is a story that has become quite famous, which is the story of "26 Years" and its production mishaps. For 4 years, various production crews have been experiencing nonstop calamity done by an invisible hand. And no doubt in that process, fellow actors and directors are sometimes forced to change the scenarios according to the current situation. If we were to talk about the strongly politics-based movie "26 Years" on the other hand, then it is nowhere near excluded from the fact that rumors about the troublesome filming period have been going around.

If we were to be much more frank than this, "26 Years" is one dangerous masterpiece. That's why its misfortune-filled scenario really had suffered a lot of turndowns from many actors. But Im Seulong was unexpectedly calm about this. He totally didn't mind this mystery at all. He said he had already knew about the movie's rough plot through the webtoon version of "26 Years" written by Kangfull, which was already serially published at that time, before he even got his script.

"It was quite refreshing and interesting how the serially published webtoon changed into a movie scenario. I accepted the offer because the movie scenario was still as interesting. Though to be honest, I'm still clueless about a lot of things regarding films since I'm still a new actor. I had probably just dashed through everything without a fear for anything." Im Seulong exclaimed as the current situation came to his mind..

Even until now, positive attention is not the only type of attention that "26 Years" had gotten. And with that, Im Seulong requested to the audience, "I hope you'll watch the movie and think of it only as a movie. Whether it's in the past or in the present, a movie can only be a hit if it's good. Otherwise, it won't. That's that. I really hope you won't see this movie and think of it in a bad way."

"After the press conference of the movie "26 Years," (Han) Hyejin Nuna said something like this during the meeting with the reporters. Commercial and drama offers were coming in mercilessly for her. I'm already on a few commercials at the moment. I'm also receiving a few film offers right now. I think I don't have to be concerned or worried about this as for now. Haha."

◆ I don't want to hear things like "Copycat Actor"
It's impossible to leave the local accent out when the movie clearly takes place in Gwangju. However, I asked him out of worry, "Did you managed to pick up the thick local accent?" because I heard it was just embarrassing. You can barely hear Im Seulong's local accent in his acting attempt to do so. It was to the point where the fellow local Nuna would cry at the scene.

"Were you worried if an idol singer's ability to act as a country boy would be a controversy?" I directed that question to Im Seulong, referring to the local accent topic as he confessed that he even received private lessons about it. He exclaimed, "I had received thorough lessons from the teacher. Among the many points of Gwangju's local accent, there's one where the word "~to do" is pronounced "~to dew". I mainly learnt things like that. But unfortunately, Kwon Junghyeok was character that would spit out his local accent only when he's excited, so you couldn't really hear it often."

Im Seulong mentioned how his fellow member, Jung Jinwoon, is called "The Son of Jeonllanam-do." Jung Jinwoon, whose local accent comes out the most when he's talking with his mother. Thanks to him, at least he wasn't completely unfamiliar with the local accent. But because he was a Kyeongsang-do bornt himself, he still had remnants of his local pronunciation and intonation. And because of that, it was hard to pick up the local Gwangju accent and spit it back out.

"I think the public have been paying extra attention to idols who're playing the roles of country boys. And so, I tried my best to be careful as I acted. All I could think about was 'I should do better than this.' Including my attempt to act using the local accent. I was no doubt worried if the movie would flop because of me. I didn't want to hear things like 'an idol who tries to copycat everything.' I've worked hard and gave my best as an actor for 3 months. I think I can be called Actor Im Seulong now, don't you think so?" he confessed.

Translated by bbiyak25 @ W2D