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‘Hijacking’ depicts in-flight emergency based on 1971 incident

Actors reunite 15 years after “Take Off” in this action thriller

May 22, 2024 - 19:03 By Kim Da-sol
From left: Actors Sung Dong-il, Chae Soo-bin, director Kim Sung-han, actor Yeo Jin-goo and Ha Jung-woo pose for a photo during a press conference held in Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Helmed by director Kim Sung-han, crime action film “Hijacking” centers on a real-life airplane hijacking incident from 1971, when two South Korean pilots were forced to redirect their plane carrying 51 passengers toward North Korea.

A star-studded cast including Ha Jung-woo (“Saint Narcotics"), Yeo Jin-goo (“The Crowned Clown”), Sung Dong-il (“Reply” series) and Chae Soo-bin (“Sweet and Sour”) depicts the in-flight emergency in the movie, which was produced based on the actual incident.

Ha and Sung play pilots Tae-in and Gyu-sik, respectively, who are on a mission to endure the threats from the hijacker inside the plane as well as to protect the passengers onboard at the same time.

Ha Jung-woo plays Tae-in in “Hijacking.” (Kidari Studio)

Ha, who has shown versatile acting through characters put in extreme situations -- like in “The Tunnel” and “Terror Live: PMC” -- said this movie was the hardest to act in.

“(This movie) was the most dramatic and physically demanding work for me. The mock plane was built on the set for the shooting and every detail had to be done (by me while acting) under the advice of a real pilot at the scene. I felt tremendous leadership and a sense of duty for that. That was also very hard work,” said Ha Jung-woo during a press conference held in CGV Yongsan in Seoul, on Wednesday.

Veteran actor Sung Dong-il plays Gyu-sik, the chief pilot who leads and supports Tae-in. The two actors appeared in “Take Off” (2009).

Yeo Jin-goo plays Yong-dae in “Hijacking.” (Kidari Studio)

For the first time, actor Yeo Jin-goo plays a villain in his latest movie. He appears as a North Korean hijacker who threatens Tae-in and Gyu-sik.

“It was difficult for me to control my feelings while acting (for this project) because I had to threaten others by using weapons. At the same time, I tried my best not to glamorize this villain-like character, but express him the best way I can,” Yeo told reporters.

Actor Chae Soo-bin plays Ok-soon, a flight attendant who keeps moving back and forth between the cabin and the cockpit.

“Back in the '70s, the way flight attendants would work was different compared to what they would do now. So I studied a lot and went to flight attendant school for training,” Chae told reporters.

To maximize the reality of a major in-flight emergency, director Kim said his arts team created a life-sized aircraft and mounted in on a kind of gimbal, so that the actors inside the plane could create a realistic portrayal.

“(That process was pivotal) because the movie focuses on not just telling the story of the hijacking incident, but portraying the comradeship of the passengers who go through the hardship together,” said Kim.

“Hijacking” hits local theaters on June 21.