Ha Jung-woo calls pilot role in ‘Hijacking’ toughest among disaster movies

For actor Ha Jung-woo, the psychological tension and physical struggles in the confined cockpit against a willful hijacker in the new film "Hijacking" were much harder than he had expected. "I've played many roles where I'm trapped in one place and struggle to survive, such as in 'Tunnel' and 'The Terror Live,' but this latest role was the most challenging among them," he said during a media event in Seoul on Wednesday to promote his upcoming film. "I had to pilot the plane, comply with the hijacker's unreasonable demands and fight for the passengers' safety. It was much more difficult than any role I've taken on so far." The film is inspired by a true story from January 1971, when a South Korean man attempted to divert a Korean Air passenger plane to North Korea, presumably to reunite with his brother. The exact reason for the hijacking remains unknown, as the man was shot to death by an aviation security officer inside the plane. "I was initially intrigued by why this man tried to hijack a plane. I was curious to see how the story would unfold," Ha said. "You might assume a hijacker would be well-informed and have professional aviation knowledge, but that was not the case here." The movie is helmed by Kim Sung-han, who served as assistant director in the political film "1987: When the Day Comes" (2017), starring Kim Yoon-seok and also Ha. With its depiction of a student activist's death, the film attracted 7.2 million moviegoers. The director praised the cast members for their meticulous focus on details and their passion to realistically portray what might have happened on the plane that day. Sung Dong-il, who played another pilot alongside Ha, said he and other actors found it really hard to film inside the limited space and synchronize their performances. "Because of the tight space, coordinating the actors' movements and figuring out their entrances and exits were quite challenging," he said, highlighting the need for extensive rehearsals. "Once, we even found ourselves debating scenes for the next day over dinner. Eventually, we headed back to the set and did impromptu rehearsals," he added. Yeo Jin-goo, portraying the hijacker in the film, his first-ever villain role, strived to realistically depict the character without becoming too immersed, as he did not want to make the hijacker's story overly convincing. "Yeo used to bring me a cup of coffee, but this time, he brought a bomb with him. Children don't always turn out the way parents want," Sung joked about his relationship with Yeo's character. The two actors portrayed father and son in a drama back in 2004. "Hijacking" is scheduled for release on June 21. Source: Yonhap News Agency