The Korea Herald


Yim Si-wan puts new twist on villian role in Netflix original ‘Unlocked’

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Feb. 15, 2023 - 16:50

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“Unlocked” (Netflix) “Unlocked” (Netflix)

Singer and actor Yim Si-wan said he took a different approach to playing the role of a villain in his new film, “Unlocked,” highlighting the character's child-like nature, rather than portraying him as a ruthless killer.

“Unlocked,” a debut film by director Kim Tae-joon, is based on Shiga Akira's award-winning Japanese novel of same title. The thriller tells the story of Na-mi (Chun Woo-hee) and how her life is threatened by Jun-young (Yim Si-wan) after she loses her smartphone containing all her personal information.

Jun-young, disguising himself as a phone repairman, hacks into Na-mi's phone by installing a spy application and steals everything from her life, including her relationships with friends and family, as well as from her work life.

“Unlocked” (Netflix) “Unlocked” (Netflix)

It is Yim’s second time playing the role of a villain after a 2021 film, “Emergency Declaration.”

“Jun-young is different from a typical villain. He expresses feelings of excitement and intrigue as he harasses people, instead of targeting his victims with viciousness or hostility -- I thought that would frighten the audience even more,” Yim told reporters during a press conference held at Lotte Cinema in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday.

“For him, harassing others is like a hobby and I viewed him as a collector of other people’s information and, later, of victims,” he added.

Actor Kim Hee-won, who stars as a tenacious detective investigating the serial murder cases, played a pivotal role in casting Yim, according to director Kim.

“I thought Yim, an actor who has the image of being a smart and honest person, playing the role of a villain would shock to the audience,” said actor Kim.

Director Kim said he wanted to depict the three dimensional character of Yim by layering viciousness on top of his clean image.

He also said that smartphones, which are now an indispensable part of daily life, really impacted him during pandemic.

“Maybe because I was shooting this project, I noticed that at least 90 percent of people inside the subway train were wearing masks and fixing their eyes to their smartphone screens,” he recalled. “It was a horrible sight.”

He added that to portray the smartphone as an item of a fear and a suspense, he tried using a range of different angles and cameras in the film.

Chun, who has appeared in various rom-coms and garnered attention with her realistic style of acting, said she tried hard to portray the life of an average office worker, allowing the audience to be fully immersed into Na-mi's situation.

“Although I’ve never worked as an office worker, I tried my best to show the universal realities of an average person,” she said.

“After shooting this film, I changed my phone password and I try to place my phone facedown when I put it on the table because I feel like someone is looking at me through the camera lens,” she joked.

“Unlocked” will be released Friday on Netflix.

“Unlocked” (Netflix) “Unlocked” (Netflix)