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'Singles' Stars Take on New Romantic Comedy

2004/02/25 Source

By Joon Soh

Uhm Jung-hwa and Kim Ju-hyuk were part of the ensemble cast of Singles, last year's hit film about being young and unmarried in Seoul. While both actors played a significant role in the light romantic drama, their characters were connected only by a mutual friend and didn't appear in a single scene together.

As romantic opposites in the new comedy "...Hongbanjang (Mr. Handy)", the two find themselves in a much closer, and often cantankerous, relationship. In the film, opening March 12, Uhm plays a young dentist from Seoul who opens a small clinic in a small town, while Kim plays an all-purpose "handyman", who takes any job and solves any problem for the price of 50,000 won a day.

"In the film, my character seems special because he's able to do so many things, but in fact he's not that special", Kim said at a press conference in Seoul Tuesday. "He's just trying to help out the people of the town, because they helped him out when he was younger".

Kim said that though he and Uhm didn't get to act together in Singles, they know each other on a personal basis "so it was comfortable making the film together".

"Uhm is a very positive person", Kim, 30, said. "She was very accepting of whatever I did in the movie, which made it very easy for me".

It's an especially busy time for Uhm, 32, who is more known as a pop singer than an actress. Along with "Mr. Handy", she is making her return to the local music scene after three years with a new double CD _ her eighth _ titled "Self Control".

During her break from the music scene, Uhm starred in three films, including "Mr. Handy". In all three, she plays a strong-willed single woman who goes against the social grain, and, in Singles and her 2001 "Kyolhon-un Michin Chissida (Marriage Is a Crazy Thing)", she has a cynical perspective on the institution of marriage.

Uhm ended up quoting the title "Marriage Is a Crazy Thing" during a scene in "Mr. Handy", an adlib that Uhm says didn't have any intent behind it. At the same time, she admitted "people my age get a lot of questions about marriage, (and) it's always a difficult question to answer".

"Mr. Handy" is the directorial debut of Kang Sok-bom, who also wrote the film's script. Kang recently worked on the set of the subway action film Tube, a big-budget project that seems at the opposite end of the spectrum from "Mr. Handy".

"After working on Tube, which was on such a large scale, I wanted to try make something quiet", Kang said.

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