S. Korean actor accused of sexual assault returns to big screen after two years

South Korean actor Oh Dal-su (second from right)

SEOUL • South Korean actor Oh Dal-su, who dropped out of acting in 2018 following allegations of sexual assault, is returning to the big screen in Good Neighbour.

The sexual assault claims surfaced in February 2018 amid the #MeToo movement in South Korea, and scenes featuring Oh were subsequently removed from television series My Mister (2018) and hit film Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days (2018).

Filming for Good Neighbour was likewise completed in February 2018.

Early last year, the police closed the investigation due to insufficient evidence.

"I came here with a heavy heart. I want to thank all the staff and actors for their hard work two to three years ago," Oh, 52, said at a press conference held ahead of the release of Good Neighbour in Seoul.

In the upcoming film, agent Dae-kwon (Jung Woo) is tasked with watching 24/7 over influential opposition party politician Lee Eui-sik (Oh), who seems to have plans to run in the next presidential election, and his family.

Dae-kwon moves into a house next door and slowly becomes a neighbour close to the politician and his family.

"I am relieved that this movie could be released. Like Lee in the movie, I have learnt the importance of family. I have been farming on Geojedo and my family was there with me the whole time to prevent me from thinking too much (of the scandal)," Oh said. "I have been living routinely while waiting for this release."

The director and other actors tried to show their support for Oh's return.

"It has been seven years since my last movie Miracle In Cell No. 7 came out. I should have returned earlier and feel sorry to the audience and also excited as well," director Lee Hwan-kyung said, adding that he asked Oh to be at the press conference with him for moral support.

Released in 2013, Miracle In Cell No. 7 sold more than 12.81 million cinema tickets in South Korea.

"I think Oh is like ramen. You never get tired of him," Lee said.

"And if you don't have ramen for a while, out of worries that it might make you put on weight, you soon crave it. He is like that and I love and respect him."

"I see that Oh played a crucial role in the Korean movie industry, and also, as a member of the audience I was glad and grateful to see him again on the big screen," Jung said.

The movie hits theatres in South Korea next Wednesday.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2020, with the headline S. Korean actor accused of sexual assault returns to big screen after two years. Subscribe