‘New Trial’ inspired by ongoing murder trial

Jung Woo, center, in a scene from "New Trial." / Courtesy of OPUS Picture

Many Korean courtroom dramas have been made based on a true story, but the upcoming movie “New Trial” is different ― the case it deals with is still ongoing.

Based on the “Yakchon Junction murder case,” teenager Hyun-woo (Kang Ha-neul) is falsely accused of killing a taxi driver and sentenced to prison for 10 years. Lawyer Park Jun-young (Jung Woo) lost all his money on his previous case and his family leaves him. While serving pro bono to ingratiate himself with the CEO of a giant law firm, Park comes across Hyun-woo’s case and thinks it could be his chance to make a name for himself. However, as his involvement deeper, Park finds out the facts have been manipulated and he feels a strong sense of justice to help Hyun-woo.

“The scenario only takes the motive from the real case and its story is different from the ongoing trial,” director Kim Tae-yoon said during a press conference at CGV Wangsimni, Thursday. “The facts in this movie are that the boy was jailed for 10 years, wrongly charged with murder, and a public defender forced him to make a false confession in exchange for reducing his sentence. Plus, lawyer Park actually told me in an interview he took the case initially to become rich and famous.”

Kim added he did not want to shoot another investigative film after he directed his previous film “Another Family” (2013), which depicted the legal battle between Samsung Semiconductor and its employees who were diagnosed with leukemia and other afflictions caused by workplace conditions.

However, when he contacted relevant figures in the Yakchon Junction murder case and watched a current affairs TV show on it, he felt the case was so tragic that he had to make it into a movie.

“I had a hard time casting actors and getting investments for my previous film, so I decided to shoot a commercial film next. People think I have much interest in social issues and I like making investigative films, but I was only taken aback by this case and thought I could be brave one more time,” Kim said.

Lead actor Jung Woo agreed that the scenario captivated him at first glance and it did not take much time for him to agree to star in the film.

“Although it is obvious that I never experienced such a situation like that of the lawyer, I was engrossed in the character and I felt such a strong power in the scenario. He did not come to me as a lawyer but an introvert who seemed more humane to me,” Jung said.

“I actually met him when I was almost done shooting the scenes and I learned about his feelings on the case. He was not like other lawyers with some sort of authority but rather friendly and humorous. His characteristics made my role fresh and helped me deviate from the typical image of lawyers,” the actor said.

“New Trial” hits theaters on Feb. 16.

By Kim Jae-heun

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