Yoochun’s emotional acting in his debut film role in Sea Fog (해무) has proven his talent is not limited to the small screen. At the recent Blue Dragon Film Awards, he won Best New Actor, beating Kim Woo-bin (Friend 2), Ahn Jae-hong (The King of Jokgu), Im Si-wan (The Attorney), and Choi Jin-hyuk (The Divine Move). It’s the fifth award he has received this year for the role; his other wins include Best New Actor at the Beautiful Artist Awards and the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.
At the awards ceremony, Yoochun was taken aback because he received his award as soon as the show started. In his speech, he said, “I learned that a large number of people suffer in order to film a movie while I was filming my first movie. I learned that acting is not an easy thing and studied even more. I sincerely thank you for this great award for my first movie.”
Sea Fog takes us back to 1998 during the Asian Financial crisis which left so many South Koreans without jobs. Six fishermen fail to catch anything, and they are on the verge of losing their boat. They decide to try to make money and save the ship by smuggling 30 illegal Chinese-Korean immigrants into South Korea. Thick fog, churning waves, the South Korean Maritime Police, and the crew members themselves put the whole group of stowaways at risk. Yoochun plays the youngest crewmember that falls in love with one of the illegal immigrants.
The film is based on the Taechangho incident in which Korean crewmembers allegedly killed 25 illegal Chinese immigrants after hiding them from police in the fish storage compartment. The immigrants suffocated to death and then their bodies were simply dumped in the sea. Rather than a heroic movie, Variety writes the movie takes human trafficking and turns it into a “social commentary on social inequality and the cost of survival. Haemoo dramatizes a stark nautical ordeal fraught with tension.” Director Shim Sung-bo said, “I wanted to illustrate a blended microcosm of our real life into the film. This is not a suspense or a thriller. It is a film about humans’ inborn desires, loneliness and ambiguity.”
It seems like Yoochun couldn’t have picked a better movie for his silver screen debut. Congratulations to him!