Midair thriller 'Hijacking' starring Ha Jung-woo to premiere on June 21

From left, actor Sung Dong-il, actor Chae Soo-bin, director Kim Sung-han, actor Yeo Jin-goo and actor Ha Jung-woo pose for a photo at a press conference for the upcoming film ″Hijacking″ in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [KIDARI STUDIO, SONY PICTURES KOREA]

When a plane gets hijacked, what choice would you make, especially when the plane is now bound for North Korea? The blockbuster crime film “Hijacking” allows the audience to experience a situation that nobody wants to be in and the choices that one needs to make.

“I think this film was three to four times, or even 20 times harder than when I did my previous roles,” Ha Jung-woo, who plays co-pilot Tae-in in the film, said at a press conference held in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Wednesday.

“The role was one of the hardest I have ever done,” Ha said, who has played similar roles as characters trying to solve problems in closed spaces, as he did in “The Terror Live” (2013) and “Tunnel” (2016). This time, it's in a plane.

Directed byKim Sung-han, the upcoming blockbuster film “Hijacking” is set in 1971, during an era when cases of hijacking planes were at their peak. It follows a suspenseful story where a plane is hijacked, with the hijacker forcing the pilots to fly toward North Korea.

Director Kim Sung-han speaks during a press conference held in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

Based on the true story of a Korean Air passenger aircraft bound for Seoul being hijacked in 1971, the film director Kim tried to convey “sincerity and truth,” which is the essence of creating a true story in live action to the audience.

“Hijacking” is Kim's first film as director, but prior to this film, he also worked as an assistant director on various Korean hit films, including “1987: When the Day Comes” (2017), which connected him with screenwriter Kim Kyung-chan, who wrote the script for “Hijacking.”

The film features a star-studded cast, including Ha, Yeo Jin-goo, who plays hijacker Yong-dae, Sung Dong-il, who plays captain Gyu-sik and Chae Soo-bin, who plays flight attendant Ok-soon.


According to director Kim, the characters are faced with numerous choices. Hijacker Yong-dae, played by Yeo, chooses to hijack the plane in order to live, while Ha's Tae-in makes choices to save the lives of his passengers.

“The question 'why did such a kid choose to hijack a whole plane?' is an interesting point for the audience to seek out during the film,” Ha said, mentioning Yeo’s character.

This will be Yeo's first-ever time playing a villain.

“I always wanted to play the role of a villain, and when I finally decided to take on the role, I had extensive discussions with director Kim,” Yeo said. “Though Yong-dae has his own narrative, I thought deeply on how to express Yong-dae without glorifying or justifying his story too much.”

“The reason I first considered Yeo as the villain was because I believed that his youthful image combined with the villain role would make the film more interesting,” director Kim said.

Ha also emphasized that the plane plays a big part in the film as a character, alongside the actors.

“I believe the audience will find the film more thrilling if they pay attention to how the plane escapes the crisis and dramatic situations,” Ha said.


“Our weapons as pilots [in the film] were our flight techniques, like nosediving or taking sudden turns to tilt the plane,” Sung said.

Sung added that he hopes the film leads the audience to “take a minute to think” about the situation, not focusing on who wins and loses in the film.

"The story is about the divided situation in Korea, but I didn’t want to focus on political ideology in modern history while shooting the film,” Sung said.

He said he also hopes the current generation, who didn't experience such political situations, watch the movie and ask themselves, "Was it really like that?"