Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub, Song Joong-ki team up for prison break
Hit writer-director Ryu Seung-wan (Veteran, Berlin) is re-teaming with Hwang Jung-min (Himalaya, Veteran) for his next project, an occupation-era film about an attempted prison break from a forced labor camp on Hashima Island. With these two involved, it’s pretty much a guaranteed box office success. The movie, called Battleship Island, has also cast twice the pretty, just in case: So Ji-sub (Oh My Venus) and Song Joong-ki (Nice Guy) will co-star.
Hashima, commonly called Battleship Island because its shape resembles a battleship, is a tiny 16-acre island off the coast of Japan that once housed a forced labor camp to operate its underground coal mines up through World War II. Beginning in the 1930s, Korean civilians and Chinese prisoners of war were shipped to Hashima and forced to live and work under brutal conditions; they were starved, tortured, and held prisoner with no way to escape a walled-up island in the middle of the ocean.
The movie will be about a group of about 400 Joseon workers who risk their lives to attempt an escape from Hashima. Hwang Jung-min will star as a bandmaster at a hotel in Kyungsung, who chooses to take his only daughter to Japan in order to keep her safe. But they get sent to the Hashima labor camp instead, and there he’ll do anything that’s asked of him, as long as he can protect his daughter.
So Ji-sub has been cast as the best street fighter in Kyungsung, a coarse man with a harsh personality who is among the laborers on the island. He’ll stir up a few incidents in the labor camp, but has a good heart underneath the rough exterior. And Song Joong-ki will play an independence fighter who infiltrates the island in order to rescue a key figure in the independence movement who’s held captive there.
The movie will highlight the “hidden history” of Hashima (Japan has yet to officially acknowledge the forced labor that occurred on the island), and will tell the story of countless Joseon lives lost there.
Battleship Island plans to start shooting soon, for a 2017 release.
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