Ryu Jun-yeol 'put all his concerns to rest' in 'Alienoid 2'

Actor Ryu Jun-yeol palys Mureuk in ″Alienoid 2,″ an initially clumsy swordsman who grows throughout the story in director Choi Dong-hoon's science fiction-fantasy mash-up. [CJ ENM]

Ryu Jun-yeol finished 2023 strong with four Best Actor awards for his role in “The Night Owl” (2023), and his next big project is “Alienoid 2” — which may or may not redeem the first film in 2022. But Ryu is certain that it will.

“The second part of ‘Alienoid’ is where the film’s message becomes clear, and the relationships between the many characters also become more apparent,” Ryu said during a group interview with local reporters on Jan. 4. “The first part was a buildup for the second part, and I sometimes wonder how things would have turned out if the two parts had opened together in theaters — whether that would have helped [the first] ‘Alienoid’ garner better reviews.”

“Alienoid,” about a group of time-traveling swordsmen, people with superpowers and aliens trapped inside human bodies who get entangled in a battle involving a holy sword, only managed to attract 1.5 million theatergoers in 2022. That may seem a respectable number to some, but the film reportedly took 33 billion won ($25 million) to make, and it was directed by Choi Dong-hoon, who has two films that have made it past the 10-million ticket milestone.

Main poster for ″Alienoid 2″ [CJ ENM]

“Director Choi would say to the cast that it was all his fault, regarding the outcome of the first part of ‘Alienoid,’ and he directed the second part with that sense of responsibility,” Ryu said. “For the second part and ultimately the two films put together, we all did our very best and have no regrets. I am sure that the audience will feel that when they watch ‘Alienoid 2.’”

Ryu plays one of the central characters: Mureuk, a swordsman and Taoist who acquires the holy sword that everyone is after. He gets involved with Kim Tae-ri’s Lee Ahn, and in “Alienoid 2,” the two characters develop a close bond — and perhaps a romantic attachment. Having worked with Kim in the 2018 film “Little Forest” also, Ryu praised Kim for her acting and commented on their close real-life relationship.

Actor Ryu Jun-yeol [CJ ENM]

“I think it is great when you can see your own growth reflected in another person, especially a close colleague, and that’s the relationship I have with Kim,” Ryu said. “When we were filming ‘Little Forest,’ we would ask each other all these questions and learn from each other. Now that we are both more seasoned, filming ‘Alienoid’ together was very relaxed, and we had more candid pointers to exchange.”

Mureuk was a character that Ryu related to in terms of whether talent or effort is more important when it comes to personal growth.

A scene from ″Alienoid 2″ [CJ ENM]

“My character Mureuk starts out as a very clumsy swordsman and has to find his talent as the story unfolds,” Ryu said. “I used to think that natural talent was more important than effort, in the sense that anyone and everyone can make the effort to become greater, but you have to be born with talent. But as I grew myself as an actor, I found that effort is as important, and the process of effort and talent making synergy is the key to growth. Mureuk is a character that shows this, so I resonated much with him.”

Working with director Choi lent Ryu to better appreciate attention to detail and cultivate even more passion for the process of making films, the actor said.

“At times I wondered whether we weren’t being too excessive,” Ryu said. “The director paid so much attention to even the seemingly littlest bits and elements that it was hard not to wonder if it was really necessary. But the end result for ‘Alienoid’ is something that puts all those concerns to rest, if you ask me, and in that sense I think the two films have reached a kind of pinnacle for detail.”

Actor Ryu Jun-yeol [CJ ENM]

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