‘Cheer Up, Mr. Lee’ is genuine family fun

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‘Cheer Up, Mr. Lee’ is genuine family fun


From left, actors Cha Seung-won, Um Chae-young, Kim Hye-ok, Jeon Hye-bin, Park Hae-jun and director Lee Gae-byok pose for photos at a press conference to promote their comedy film “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee” at Apgujeong CGV in southern Seoul. [NEWS1]

Actor Cha Seung-won will be back on the big screen in the upcoming comedy “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee,” slated to premiere in time for the Chuseok harvest holidays in September.

The actor plays a handsome but dim-witted man named Cheol-soo who jumps right into fatherhood after suddenly discovering that he has a child.

Cha says that he always feels right at home when he acts in comedies. “There was a period when I didn’t want parts in comedy movies because I was in so many of them in the early 2000s,” said Cha at a press conference held on Wednesday. “But looking back now [after] shooting this film, I realize that these films give me the energy boost I need.”

The actor added that his fans seemed to love his comedic roles more than his others, giving him all the more reason to say yes to the part.

“It truly was an honor to have Cha star in my film,” said director Lee Gae-byok, whose recent works include the 2016 box-office hit “Luck-Key.”

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was my lifelong dream as a director to work with Cha, because he was in so many funny films when I was a newbie in the film industry.”

Park Hae-jun, who plays Cheol-soo’s younger brother Young-soo, is tackling the comedy genre for the first time. “I’ve played a lot of scary and dark roles over the years, but my real personality is closer to that of Young-soo, whom I could relate to since I am a bit sloppy and vague too.” Park hopes that he can watch the film together with his child.

Child actor Um Chae-young plays the role of Setbyol, a child with leukemia who meets Cheol-soo when her grandmother introduces him to her as her father.

“I’ve always stuck to the script, but Cha started doing ad-libs on the set,” Um said. “That’s when I realized that I could do it too, and Lee really liked what we did.”

Cha praised the young actor’s acting skills. “I’ve met and worked with many child actors, and to be good at their role, they need some form of resemblance,” Cha said. “And there is something so pure about Um that matched perfectly with her character Setbyol.”

However, there are several father-daughter films that revolve around a childish father and an adult-like child, the most successful recent example being “Miracle in Cell No. 7” (2013).

When asked about what differentiates the film from the others, Cha replied that there is a “special incident” that turns the story upside down.

“It’s too much of a spoiler to be revealed here right now, but I guarantee that the audience will feel the difference when they see it,” according to the actor.

“We were like one big family on the set,” the director said during his final note. “I hope many families visit their local theaters to see the film all together.”

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]
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