Song Joong-ki's upcoming historical drama feature 'Battleship Island' has been gaining a lot of international interest. The movie is based on Japanese occupation-era Hashima Island, where a group of brave workers attempt to escape the site's forced labour camp for Koreans. It turns out, Song Joong-ki knew very little about the history of the place.
As reports Allkpop, a press conference for 'Battleship Island' was held in Seoul on June 15. Actor Song Joong-ki attended along with his co-stars Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub and Lee Jung-hyun. Song Joong-ki revealed that he had very little knowledge of the history of Hashima Island and that he learned about it on the sets of the variety show, 'Infinity Challenge.'
"I honestly didn't know much about Hashima Island as well as the historical background. I only picked up a few points from 'Infinity Challenge,'" the 'Descendants of the Sun' actor said. He added, "Since the film was based on actual events, I studied a lot. I was embarrassed for not knowing about the history."
Though it is true that during the Japanese occupation of Korea many were forced into Hashima island's labour camps to mine coal, no daring escape as depicted in the movie is ever recorded to have occurred.
As Japanese media got wind of the movie being made, one particular conservative daily from the country, notes Yonhap News, criticised the movie for exaggerating the horrors in the Korean labour camps and the depictions of forced labour. To this, director Ryoo Seung-wan responded by saying, "The film is a fact-based fiction,"
Even though the film is fiction, the director wanted it to have an authentic feel. He said he wanted "to illustrate the background of that time period as well as the physical space, making it as realistic as possible."
The director added, "Many Koreans were forced into labour after an order to mobilise all Koreans was in place, and they didn't get their due wages and humane treatment. These are facts as far as I've studied. There are records backing them up and surviving victims. And it also is a fact that they had to go up to 1,000 meters below sea level to unearth coal."
As noted by Allkpop, 'Battleship Island' also deals with forced sexual slavery of 'comfort women' by the Japanese imperial army on women abducted from various Asian nations including Korea, China, and the Philippines among others.
The movie will address the humiliation and immense physical and psychological pain these 'comfort women' experienced under the oppressive Japanese regime during World War II. K-pop singer and actress Lee Jung-hyun will portray such a character.
Initial release of 'Battleship Island' in South Korea will be in the month of July this year. A release date hasn't been announced yet. Watch the trailer below.