South Korean heartthrob Song Joong Ki is making headlines once again, this time for his unwavering commitment to his craft and his eagerness to explore international film opportunities. In a surprising move, he has accepted a role in the film “Hopeless” without taking a paycheck, emphasizing his dedication to artistic values and admiration for the director and production team.
“Hopeless,” directed by Kim Chang Hoon, tells the story of a young man named Yeon Gyu (played by Hong Sa Bin), desperate to escape his personal hell. When he encounters Chi Geon (portrayed by Song Joong Ki), a mid-level manager of an organization, Yeon Gyu steps into a dangerous world.
Joong Ki’s portrayal of Chi Geon has left audiences in awe. Gone is the conventional, handsome leading man; instead, Chi Geon is a rugged character with complex inner turmoil. His short hair reveals a sun-kissed complexion, a face marred by scars, and piercing, cold eyes.
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The actor revealed that he was immediately drawn to the script of “Hopeless” and accepted the role without a salary as a way to support artistic values and show admiration for the director and production team. He stated, “I enjoy challenging myself with uncertainty. It might sound daring, but I’ve had many successes, so I want to try something bold.”
In his pursuit of challenging and psychologically intense roles, Joong Ki added, “I’ve put in a lot of effort to showcase a different side of myself.”
Director Kim Chang Hoon praised Joong Ki’s performance, expressing his satisfaction with how the actor transformed his image. He remarked, “I hoped Song Joong Ki would bring an entirely different, colder demeanor compared to the gentle image he portrayed before. Watching Joong Ki’s performance, I truly see Chi Geon.”
“Hopeless” made its debut at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in May, receiving a standing ovation and positive feedback from industry experts. The film is set to premiere in South Korea on October 11th.
Despite being one of South Korea’s highest-paid actors, Joong Ki’s thirst for international experiences remains unquenched. In a recent interview, he explained that his desire to explore roles abroad has been long-standing, even before his marriage to Katy Louise Saunders, his second wife. He said, “Many people think I started considering international projects after marrying Katy, but in reality, I’ve been auditioning for various roles in different cultures for years.”
Joong Ki praised his wife’s unwavering support for his diverse career aspirations. Katy, a former actress herself with international experience, arranges meetings and audition opportunities for him, even though success in these endeavors has been elusive so far.
While he has had a successful career in South Korean television, Joong Ki now aims to venture into the world of international cinema, particularly in dark and thrilling genres. He explained, “In ‘Hopeless,’ I only played a supporting role. The scriptwriters even asked me if I was okay with it, but I enjoyed it. I wanted to bring the story to life without altering its allure, which is why I decided to join the project without compensation.”
Following “Hopeless,” Joong Ki is set to star in the project “My Name is Loh Kiwan,” filmed predominantly in international locations. The film follows the story of Ro Ki Wan, an escapee who enters Belgium illegally in pursuit of asylum, offering Joong Ki yet another opportunity to showcase his versatile acting skills.
In addition to his thriving film career, Song Joong Ki finds happiness in his personal life. He and Katy Louise Saunders confirmed their marriage earlier in the year and welcomed their first son in June. Joong Ki attributes his current success and happiness to his wife’s influence, appreciating her valuable advice despite her departure from the acting profession.
Before his marriage to Katy, Joong Ki had a high-profile two-year marriage to actress Song Hye Kyo, whom he met during the filming of “Descendants of the Sun.” They tied the knot in 2017 but divorced in 2019, marking a significant chapter in his personal life.
As Song Joong Ki continues to captivate audiences worldwide with his compelling performances, his journey into international cinema promises exciting and diverse roles, cementing his status as a multifaceted actor with a global appeal.