‘Okja’ poster
South Korean actress Ahn Seo-hyun talked about working with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton in the Netflix film “Okja.” Netflix

Ahn Seo-hyun, the star of the upcoming action-adventure film “Okja,” opened up about what it was like to work with non-South Korean actors like Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton in the new Netflix film.

In a recent interview with Deadline, Ahn admitted that there was a language barrier between her and her non-South Korean co-stars, but she did say that they all made an effort to connect with one another. “Because they’re foreign actors, I wasn’t very familiar with their work,” Ahn said of her non-South Korean co-stars, which also include Paul Dano, Lily Collins and Giancarlo Esposito. “When I met them, I was afraid there’d be communication barriers because of the language, but they were wholeheartedly welcoming of me and wanted to be my friend, and so I felt like the heart-to-heart communication overcame the language barriers.”

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Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the film tells the story of Mija (Ahn), a farm girl living in the mountains outside Seoul who befriends Okja, a “super pig” raised under contract by a corporate food giant called the Mirando Corporation. Mija, who forms a special bond with Okja, sets out on a spirited quest to rescue her friend when Mirando Corporation comes to acquire the creature, which looks like an elephant with the head of a dog.

Mirando Corporation’s CEO, Lucy Mirando, is played by Swinton, while Lucy’s zoologist accomplice, Dr. Johnny Wilcox, is portrayed by Gyllenhaal. In the trailer for the film, Lucy says that Okja is a “revolution in the livestock industry.” “Super pigs will not only be big and beautiful,” Lucy says in the trailer. “They will also leave a minimal footprint on the environment, consume less feeds, produce less excretion and most importantly … taste very good.”

Also seen in the preview clip, Mija encounters animal-rights activists Jay (Dano), Red (Collins) and K (Steven Yeun). “We are animal lovers,” Jay tells Mija in the video. “Our plan is to expose Miranda and rescue Okja to bring her back to you.”

“Okja” competed for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. However, earlier this week, Spanish director Almodovar strongly voiced his opposition to giving festival prizes to online-only films like “Okja,” arguing that they lack “the capacity of hypnosis of the large screen for the viewer.”

According to The Hamilton Spectator, the festival seemed to agree with Almodovar’s opposition as it announced that starting next year only films destined for the big screen will be allowed to compete.

Swinton and Gyllenhaal, however, revealed that they didn’t bring the film to Cannes to win. “The truth is, we didn’t actually come here for prizes,” Swinton said. “We came here to show this film to the Cannes Film Festival and to people who have gathered here from all over the world.”

Gyllenhaal echoed Swinton’s sentiments, saying that there’s “no better time than now” to share “Okja’s” pro-environment, pro-nature and pro-animal welfare messages to the world.

“Okja,” which also stars Byun Hee-bong, Yoon Je-moon, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Devon Bostick and Choi Woo-shik, will be available to stream on Netflix by June 28.