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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.

Via Chosun

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Damn, that's some casting right here. Is it weird to be excited over a movie I won't be able to see before 2 years?

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I'm still not that impressed with Song Joong ki's acting and his past works, but I'm all for Hwang Jung Min and director Ryu Seung Wan.

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Excuse me... let me take this in... I'll be back after trying to forget this piece of casting news, so I am not anticipating this movie like a loon until 2017!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GIVE ME THIS, NOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!

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Amen sister! Oh my goodness I'm going to die and go to heaven. Although I'm not a big fan of So Ji-sub in dramas I tend to like him in movies more for some reason.

They just had to put Hwang Jung Min and Song Joong Ki together ha? Christmas in January !!!!!! Joong Ki don't come back dramas, stay there where you belong.......

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Ha! Well said!
Why are you girls so onto it!? Such a painfully long wait to see sjk and sjs in what looks like a potentially epic and heart wrenching story.
No doubt they'll both pull it of splendidly.
Now to go distract ourselves.
Good thing we know how to do that....?

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I don't think Ryu Seung Wan's latest works have been very good. Fantastic cast though.

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You are right. He is more of a summer blockbuster kind of director but I'm excited nevertheless. Song Joong Ki could use a boost in Chungmuro by acting alongside Hwang Jung Min. He is unstoppable. I love him!

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Veteran, 2015, starring Hwang Jung Min and Yoo Ah In was the third highest grossing film of all time. It is commercially success and has good reviews.

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You mean in Korea right? Cuz I don't think it surpassed american blockbusters in the money category.

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There is a huge gap between Korean and American box office ticket sales and revenue. Of course she is talking about all time highest grossing in Korea.

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Damn. That's something worth waiting.

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SO JISUB, HWANG JUNG, MIN, AND SONG JOONG KI!!!
THANK YOU JESUS
these actors are my faves <3
I remember watching Hwang Jung Min's movie in the plane, the one with Han Hye Jin. I cried so much. That movie was so sad. So Ji Sub has always been my bae since I'm Sorry I Love You and Song Joong Ki's AWESOME in Deep rooted tree, Innocent Man, and Werewolf Boy.
I jumped up and down on my bed when I saw this on twitter.
Too bad Korean Movies take long to get subbed so this is probably going to be finished by the time I get to University haha.

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Both Ryu and his producer wife Kang Hye-Jung separately mentioned they were looking at a summer release in 2017, and given the subject matter, probably August. Ryu also said post-production would be quite challenging, so yes, a loooooooooooooooooong wait indeed. But hopefully well worth it and deservedly so. He's cited Hogan's Heroes and The Great Escape as some of his inspirations (IRL there were no OSS-trained independence fighters who helped the Korean workers escape the island), so it doesn't sound like it's going to be all gloom and doom.

On a side note, particularly pleased for SJK who had to pull out of a movie because of his enlistment. If this is the reward for his service to the country, couldn't have picked a better project.

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If this is backed up by CJ Ent like Veteran and Himalaya then you might be able to see it a month or two after release if you have an ACM theater near you (mainly located in the Los Angeles / San Diego area). I live a few hours away but i'll probably plan to take a weekend trip with my friends when the movie is released. Can't miss out on this casting haha

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I bet they are. They'd back a mega star like Hwang Jung Min anytime. I foresee a worldwide release with English subs.

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yasssssss i would totally watch it for the cast!!!

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Damn i hate when the teaser came out but still 1 year till the due date haha it is sure would be a box office !! Yay!! isn't that actor who payed in Veteran? all line up are great!! can not wait!

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Three hot namja in one movie!
I won't be the only one who would fangirl like crazy when the movie released right?

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Dang! Great casting! So excited for this movie already! *___*

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I had never heard of this bit of history until I watched an episode of Infinity Challenge. (And I thought then, this would make a fascinating movie.)

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It's so, so tragic. I was right there with Haha and Jaesuk crying in that episode.

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Totally with you on this though it's because of the UNESCO approval controversy (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-05/japan-wins-unesco-recognition-after-concession-to-south-korea) that Infinity Challenge released that segment which was so timely! It is such a sad reality that the survivors have to live with an unrepentant perpetrator despite all this evidence!

Hope the movie's done well and wins accolades on the world stage to shine light on this issue! I've lived in Japan, have a ton of really really good friends and love the country, culture and people but the government fails time and time again to be remorseful about their country's dealings pre-WWII and throughout that dark history, to the point of white-washing, denying that these historical events ever happened (e.g Nanjing Massacre's fabricated according to the right-wingers, many who are currently in current leadership), that just gets me fired up!

Please be good, film!!!!

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With Hwang Jung Min's name on it, it is guaranteed a commercial success. He has a Midas touch.

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AND here comes the waiting game. I want SJK on my screen! Still not sure about his drama with SHK ?

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It has been awhile since So Ji Sub's last movie and about time for him to make more movies.

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I doubt they'll get to actually film on the island like Attack on titan did and one of the recent Bond movies.
I do find the subject interesting and something to discuss but it comes at a bad time especially since both countries are now in the midst of working out the comfort women issue with a new agreement. Also two of the three actors are quite popular in Japan but I'd guess not so much after this.

I read something quite interesting recently, a article (on a film site) hat how many new Korean films tend to be anti-Japanese and portray Japanese characters in a very one sided way (as in every single Japanese person is evil)
They mentioned the recent tiger movie where the tiger apparently only attacked Japanese people and left every Korean person unharmed.

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They're not going to film on the island anyway. Among other things, it's now a UNESCO World Heritage site so that imposes even more restrictions on a really small and crowded (with buildings, not people) island already. Director Ryu has mentioned (in a roundtable interview with Cine21, featuring five star directors with upcoming projects) that unlike his other films, he's going to rely extensively and heavily on sets to recreate the prison-like atmosphere of the island. Also, he's hardly the only director working on the colonial period right now--there's Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaid, Hur Jin-Ho's The Last Princess, and while it has nothing to do with the colonial period, everyone's dying to know why Na Hong-Jin's Gokseong features a creepy Japanese as one of its principal characters. So I doubt the ever-present tensions with Japan can stop these directors from pursuing whatever projects they choose to pursue.

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I'm quite curious about The handmaiden as I've seen the British version and I've read the book and apparently Waters wanted some changes to the script she received to read also they apparently made the male part more central in the Korean version.

The last princess looks good and I'm excited about the cast (Kim Jae wook <3) but again it's quite interesting that in all Korean films it seems that if the character is Japanese then they are either a villain or a terrible, terrible human being.

Filming on the actual island for certain scenes could have been perhaps possible but as you pointed out being a world heritage site I doubt Japanese officials would even give permission.
But I do wonder if they get more easier financing if directors decide to make a film that focuses on Japanese being villains.

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Forgot that Song Gang-Ho's also coming back with Kim Jee-Woon's Secret Agent/밀정. I don't know why since I just read the roundtable interview but anyhow...

I don't think there's that much focus on or concern about Japanese as villains or how they're portrayed anyway. Whether it's blockbusters or independent cinema, Chungmooro's much more progressive than Yeouido in general, and filmmakers are more likely to ruffle feathers over ideology or socio-political issues. On the k-drama side, I tend to watch period productions and if Japanese tend to be villains, it's because the key figures in Korean history ARE villains. Even then they tend to stay in the background, and storytelling's more fixated on collaborators or those who favored rapprochement with Japan in critical points in history.

So I don't think it's a question of "Japan=Big Bad" as sales pitch. (You mentioned The Great Tiger, and if that's all that mattered, it'd have done a lot better at the box office.) It's merely that a lot of the issues and periods that fascinate Korean filmmakers and drama producers took place when our relations with Japan were most toxic. And it's very difficult to treat it in a layered manner when a) Japan's own self-examination leaves much to be desired and b) collaboration/친일 remains a lightning rod in Korea.

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Director/screenwriter Kim Jee-Woon is one of the more talented in Chungmuro.
I am looking forward more to Secret Agent with Song Kang Ho. I hope Shin Sung Rok will do well here.

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OH MY GOD!!!! Never had such a strong desire to jump on the plane the moment the movie's out!!!! This should have been SJK's comeback work! And I missed SJS's weight loss drama, as I wasn't interested in the topic...

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SJK has just finished working with one of the biggest star writers in k-dramas and is going back to Chungmooro to work with one of the biggest star directors in k-films. How's that bad in terms of his career decisions post-military discharge? I mean, I know k-drama fans have strong feelings about Kim Eun-Sook one way or another, but she's not the only writer attached to DotS (and SJK grew quite close to the other writer, Kim Won-Seok, as well), some actors who worked with her have relished--and excelled at--mastering her style of writing (and like it or not, it can't be as easy as it looks because none of her students or anyone else has been able to pull it off), so why should he have passed up the opportunity to see if he was up to the challenge like some of his sunbaes? Given that the movie's going to be released in 2017 (and in the summer, no less), I'm thrilled I get to see him act in 2016 while he preps for Gunhamdo.

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Omg, this is an amazing cast with an amazing director helming it

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What a delightful piece of news!! So Ji-sub coming back to the big screen!!! Loved Rough cut & Always!

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I doubt a few films are going to have bad impact on Japanese-Korean relations, especially given how the two nations interact constantly through business, tourism, and entertainment.

There are British people who fret about British actors always playing villains in American movies. It seems silly to me as a an American watching American media, as most of the quality fiction on our own public television network is British-made. A few odd villain roles in movies isn't remotely the media exposure of forty years of Masterpiece Theater, Masterpiece Mystery, Doctor Who, and Monty Python! No nation ever had better cultural ambassadors.

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Sounds like a perfect role for So Ji Sub! Can't wait!

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