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South Korea heartthrob Song Joong-ki may have finished his two-years of mandatory military service in 2015, but the actor feels he’s “been a soldier for five years” thanks to his roles in “Descendants of the Sun” and more recently, “The Battleship Island”.
“I feel like I have lived five years as a soldier,” Song said during a press conference for “The Battleship Island” on Tuesday (8 Aug).
The actor said one reason he felt “drawn” to such military roles could be his recent release from the military, admitting that he was “comfortable” in such roles.
“My hair was kept short, so it’s very convenient,” the 31-year-old quipped.
Song had a lead role in the hit 2016 drama as the captain of a South Korea Special Forces unit, which won him numerous accolades, including the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards for Best and Most Popular Actor.
The actor, who was in town with “The Battleship Island” co-stars Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-Sub and director Ryoo Seung-wan, was also voted by his co-stars as the one with the most survival skills.
“It has to be Joong-ki, he just got out of the army not long ago,” So, 39, said when asked which of the three would come out tops in a battle of survival skills.
“I’m the youngest… so I (also) think it’s me,” Song replied in Korean, leading to laughter from members of the press who could understand the language.
“The older ones, we hurt a lot if we move too much,” Hwang, 46, added, causing his co-stars to burst into laughter.
Working with his wife Song Hye-Kyo
Song, who announced his marriage to “Descendants of the Stars” co-star Song Hye-kyo in July, also told reporters that he would need to consider carefully whether or not he would work with his wife-to-be in future shows.
“When we get married and have our married life together, I don’t think it will be easy for us to work together on the same production. This is work, after all,” Song said.
In the movie, Song plays a patriotic Korean operative trained by the US and sent to infiltrate Hashima Island, which was a hard labour camp run by the Japanese military during World War II. The island is also commonly called Gunkanjima, which means Battleship Island in Japanese.
Veteran actor Hwang, who plays a father forced to work with the Japanese on Hashima Island to protect his daughter, also praised Song for his considerate personality.
“I felt like Song Joong-ki had a good upbringing,” Hwang said. “He is especially considerate towards the older brothers around him.”
“He’s so considerate towards everyone, he’s good-looking. Whether you are male or female, you will find Song Joong-ki charming,” added So, who plays a gangster who rises up to a position of power on Hashima Island.
Song showed this consideration for his fellow co-stars towards the end of the press conference, when he was asked about the hardest scene for him to film in the show.
“All the actors had dangerous scenes to film,” Song said, refusing to take personal credit for an individual scene. “All the actors, including me, had to pay extra attention to losing weight for our roles (in a hard labour camp), and I think that was the most difficult thing for us to do.”
“The Battleship Island” tells the tale about an attempted prison break from Hashima towards the end of World War 2. It also stars Lee Jung-hyun and Kim Suan, the child actress who had a lead role in 2016’s hit “Train to Busan”.
“The Battleship Island” opens in Singapore on 17 August.
Here are highlights from the meet-and-greet with fans:
– additional reporting by Elizabeth Tong
Related story: Fans queue from 5am at Suntec City to catch Song Joong-ki
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