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Uhm Jung-hwa returns in action comedy ‘Okay! Madam’

Film boasts star-studded cast of veteran supporting actors

Lead cast members of “Okay! Madam” -- (from left) Lee Sun-bin, Bae Jung-nam, Uhm Jung-hwa, Park Sung-woong and Lee Sang-yoon -- pose for photos during the film’s press premiere in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
Lead cast members of “Okay! Madam” -- (from left) Lee Sun-bin, Bae Jung-nam, Uhm Jung-hwa, Park Sung-woong and Lee Sang-yoon -- pose for photos during the film’s press premiere in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
Singer and actor Uhm Jung-hwa makes her return to the big screen for the first time in five years in action comedy “Okay! Madam.”

Uhm teams up with veteran actor Park Sung-woong to play a married couple who, upon their first-ever trip abroad to Hawaii, become involved in the rescue operation of a hijacked aircraft.

The film’s director Lee Cheol-ha, Uhm, Park and actors Lee Sang-yoon, Bae Jung-nam and Lee Sun-bin attended a press premiere in Seoul on Monday.

“I feel like a rookie. I’m very nervous,” said Uhm, 51, adding, “I am grateful -- even touched -- to be holding a press premiere like this. I’ve missed it very much.” “Okay! Madam” is Uhm’s first film since 2015 romantic comedy “Wonderful Nightmare.”

While the film is this year’s first major domestic release with a female lead, Uhm said the film “wasn’t made by a single female lead, but by all the actors in every corner of the film,” adding, “hopefully, with the success of our film, many great movies telling diverse stories could be created in the future.”

The action comedy that takes place inside a narrow airplane also features veteran actors Kim Nam-gil, Kim Byeong-ok, Jeon Soo-kyung and Kim Hye-eun.

“As the film takes place in a limited space, I believe the chemistry between the characters must feel alive. I interviewed even the actors playing minor roles to discuss their determination and thoughts about their characters and the film,” director Lee said.


“Okay! Madam” poster (Megabox Joongang Plus M)
“Okay! Madam” poster (Megabox Joongang Plus M)

For Korea’s first movie centered on a plane hijacking, the producers assembled the interior of an actual Boeing 777 aircraft provided by airplane prop company Air Hollywood.

Park Sung-woong, 47, who is well known for his role in smash-hit action-noir “New World” (2013), plays the husband to Uhm’s character Mi-young. Lee Sang-yoon stars as the leader of the North Korean terrorist group on a mission to search for his old colleague, agent “Mokryeonhwa,” onboard the plane.

“When we were writing the script in 2017, we couldn’t expect how the situation (of inter-Korean relations) would develop. Back then, things were tense, and we worried about whether it would be OK to use this setting. Eventually, rather than thinking about who’s whose enemy, I decided to just give the Korean audience a chance to have a big laugh,” the director said.

Lee made his directorial debut in 2006 with romance film “Love Me Not,” starring Moon Keun-young and the late Kim Ju-hyuk. While the director has helmed films of diverse genres from documentaries to thrillers, “Okay! Madam” is his first attempt at comedy.

“I’m reminded of the first meeting we had about this film. We thought about what we wanted to deliver through this film -- and it was a small hope for a world where people could see each other without any prejudice,” Lee said.

“Okay! Madam” hits local theaters on Aug. 12.



By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)
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