So Ji Sub talks about identifying with Korean labourers in The Battleship Island

Actor describes co-star Song Joong-ki as manly and unpretentious.

So Ji-sub
Actor So Ji-sub in an official still from upcoming movie 'The Battleship Island.'

Actor So Ji-sub is no doubt having a good time since his recent movie, 'The Battleship Island' is doing great at worldwide box office, as well as critically. As per a latest report from The Korea Herald, the Song Joong-ki starrer has grossed more than $1 million at the US box office. The movie presents a fictional account of the suffering faced by Korean labourers during the Japanese Imperial Occupation era, during World War II. So Ji-sub revealed why he could not feel the pain of those labourers.

As noted by website Soompi, actor So Ji-sub sat for an interview recently, to talk about 'The Battleship Island,' as well as his plans for the future. It is here that the interviewer asked whether he could identify with the workers' suffering at Hashima island; during the Japanese occupation era. "It would be a lie to say that I could feel their feelings. It's not easy. To say that I felt that while filming on a set for the short period that I did would be a lie. It's just imagery in my head. I could definitely feel miserable and sad, but I could never say that I felt what it was like to be there at the time," So Ji-sub said.

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So Ji-sub appears to be very honest about his feelings. It is not possible to know or feel the extent of the suffering of the Korean workers in the forced labour camps at Hashima island, Japan. One can only imagine their predicament from historical records, in addition to identifying on a basic human level. The maximum the actor can do is to make a believable portrayal of such characters. However, the film is a fictionalised version of the actual events and there was no daring escape from Hashima Island as shown in the movie.

Ryu Seung-wan had apparently made many offers to So Ji-sub for his past movies and the latter had declined all of them due to scheduling conflicts. However, he could not pass up 'The Battleship Island' because he wasn't sure whether he'll get any more offers from the former. "I thought this would be his last offer and chose to appear in the movie without even reading the script," the actor said.

After receiving the script in August of the past year, So Ji-sub said he was also given, "an enormous amount of research data from the director and the production company," adding, "I also saw it on 'Infinite Challenge.'" He revealed that he learnt a lot from Hwang Jung-min, who plays a hotel bandmaster sent to Hashima island with his little daughter and is desperate to do anything to save her from the Japanese military. As for Song Joong-ki, So Ji-sub described him as "a manly man without any pretence."

So Ji-sub also added that he is "no longer fixated on playing only cool roles" but wants to play meaningful parts, whether the role is a leading one or a supporting one. As for his personal life, So Ji-sub said, "I'm working hard to enjoy life while living it. I think other people will feel happy seeing me happy."

This article was first published on August 21, 2017
Related topics : Song Joong ki