Local actress Hong Huifang starring with K-drama actors Yeo Jin-goo, Kang Hyung-suk in new film
She plays a “Korean drama-obsessed widow from Singapore trying to find new purpose in life and ends up getting lost in Korea” in the dramedy, Ajoomma.
Veteran Singaporean actress Hong Huifang is starring in an upcoming Singapore-South Korea feature film titled Ajoomma that will also see several popular K-drama names in the cast.
The 61-year-old, in her first film role, will appear alongside Jung Dong-hwan (Mine, Hotel Del Luna), Kang Hyung-suk (Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Crashing Landing On You) and Yeo Jin-goo (Hotel Del Luna, Beyond Evil). Singaporean actor Shane Pow is also part of the cast.
For an extra dose of Singapore pride, the film is being produced by award-winning local filmmaker, Anthony Chen, with his film company Giraffe Pictures, and it’s written by Singaporean filmmaker He Shuming, who also directed the film, and Kris Ong. It’s co-produced by South Korean producer, Joonhan Lee.
Ajoomma, which is the Korean word for aunty, is a “dramedy about a Korean drama-obsessed widow from Singapore trying to find new purpose in life and ends up getting lost in Korea”. According to the media release, the story is inspired by director He’s own mother.
That K-drama-obsessed widow is, of course, played by Hong. The Mediacorp actress told 8days.sg that she first auditioned for the role in early 2020 and she initially didn’t know that she would be playing the lead character.
"The director and the casting manager approached me, and they gave me a couple of scenes, and asked me to audition,” she said.
"I didn't know what the title of the movie was, they only gave me two scenes. But when they decided to cast me, they gave me the full script, and then I realised – 'Oh my god, this entire movie is focused on my character's story’.”
Ajoomma is the first feature film co-production between Singapore and South Korea.
The film was shot mostly in Seoul at the start of this year and it has just completed its final leg of filming in Singapore. It’s due to complete post-production in the third quarter of the year.
Hong revealed to 8days.sg that she enjoyed the filming process in South Korea. “It felt like a retreat for me, it was very relaxing," she said.
And, she explained, she didn’t even need to pick up the language since her character is a Singaporean who goes to Korea so she spoke “everything, from Hokkien to English to Korean”.
“For Korean it's more of simple words like annyeonghaseyo [hello], or kamsahamnida [thank you], and basically a lot of gesturing and body language,” she told the entertainment site.
And how did she get along with her famous Korean co-stars?
She revealed that she spoke Mandarin with Kang Hyung-suk. “His Mandarin is not bad actually,” she shared.
As for Yeo Jin-goo, she shared that he was "very nice to work with, and very friendly”.
Despite scoring this dream role, it turns out Hong wasn’t a big fan of K-dramas at the start and only got into them after watching Crash Landing On You, reported Lianhe Zaobao.
However, once she started binging, she could forgo sleep for several days. "If I have to film at 7am the next day, I can watch until 6am, and then go straight to filming," she told the publication.