'The Owl' gives new twist to death of Korea's Crown Prince Sohyeon

Actor Ryu Jun-yeol as a blind acupuncturist in the film ″The Owl″ [NEW]

The mysterious death of a crown prince, a mad king, and a blind witness — the upcoming historical thriller “The Owl” is set to captivate its viewers with a juicy, suspenseful film.

History books only vaguely state that Crown Prince Sohyeon (1612-1645) died a sudden death, but “The Owl” put its own spin on the story by introducing a fictional, partially blind acupuncturist who witnesses the prince’s death.

The acupuncturist, portrayed by actor Ryu Jun-yeol, has a condition called hemeralopia, otherwise known as day blindness. This handicap renders Ryu’s character essentially blind in daylight.

At the press conference for the movie in central Seoul's Yongsan District on Tuesday, Ryu said that he met with many people who are visually impaired and even had a chance to interview people who have been diagnosed with hemeralopia.

“According to them, they can more clearly see things in the dark than in the day,” he said.

Actors Yoo Hai-jin, left, and Ryu Jun-yeol attend the press conference for the upcoming historical thriller ″The Owl″ in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Tuesday. [NEWS1]

Director An Tae-jin said that he and his filming team worked with various different filming methods and camera filters to depict the vision of a person with day blindness.

“There was no precedent to refer to when depicting the vision of a person with day blindness on screen, so we also met and talked extensively with people with this condition,” he said.

Actor Lee Sung-cheol, who plays Crown Prince Sohyeon, has also done his research to portray the historical figure as true to life as possible.

“Crown Prince Sohyeon was taken captive by the Manchus in 1936 when he was just 20-something years old,” he said. “He was also a very forward-thinking individual with the sole goal of making Joseon a better place. I tried to imagine myself in these situations.”

Actor Yoo Hai-jin as King Injo in the film ″The Owl″ [NEW]

The crown prince’s father, King Injo, is played by actor Yoo Hai-jin. His character is driven nearly mad as he tries to unearth the cause of his son’s death.

“I tried to deviate from playing a typical Joseon Dynasty king, which are often portrayed in historical films or dramas,” said Yoo, citing the craziness, anger and frustration that his character experiences through the film.

Other actors in the film are Choi Moo-sung, Cho Seong-ha, Park Myoung-hoon, Ahn Eun-jin and Jo Yun-seo.

“The Owl” premieres in local theaters on Nov. 23.