Monday, November 26, 2012

Song Joong-ki, the Man of the Hour

Hot off my Nice Guy high, I've decided to make a whole post about the pivotal actor of the series. Of course none other than Song Joong-ki. He has come far since his debut in the ero-sageuk movie, A Frozen Flower. Only back in 2008. And 4 years later, he has risen as one of the best young Korean actors out there. Here I am today singing high praises for him.

As I've mentioned before, Song has only been in the industry a mere 4 years. In a sense that is a long time. I'm down to close to 3.5 years of college and it feels like forever. But in the entertainment industry, fame, or at least the one that Song has, is a difficult and long journey. Unless you're Joo Won, but let's save that bit for another day. And what I mean by Song's form of fame is that it's not only skin deep. Sure Song is known for his milky white skin and his puppy dog eyes. That's been established even before he officially became an actor. But this fame is different. And it's a fame that I hope he retains for many years to come.

Song Joong-ki was born on September 19, 1985 in Daejeon, South Korea. He is the second child of three, with an older brother and a younger sister. Song has mentioned this numerous times before, is that he once had a dream of becoming an athlete. A short track speed skater, to be exact. But the life of an athlete wasn't meant for him, as during his early years in high school he was involved in an injury and had to give up the sport for good. Taking the situation into his own hands, he decided to focus on school, earning him the title of a diligent student. Thanks to his studies, he was accepted into Sungkyunkwan University.

Like many an actor out there, Song started taking acting classes because of his shy manner. During his sophomore year of college, he decided to pursue acting seriously. In 2008 he finally made his debut as one of the soldiers in sageuk movie, A Frozen Flower. His career picked up quite quickly from there. Within the year of 2009 alone he was in a total of 6 projects including 2 movies, 3 dramas, and 2 variety shows.

Even though 2010 started off slowly for him,with his first project of the year being OB/GYN, a drama barely anyone knows, and a movie (Hearty Paws 2) that's mostly just cute, things quickly picked up from there. He started his gig on the then new variety show, Running Man. His stint as the all knowing, passionate youngster was a big bump for his career, but not nearly as huge as the drama that would air later in the year. Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

It's a bit sad that I wasn't on full blogging mode when Sungkyunkwan Scandal was airing because boy would I be all up in that tree during that time. It is probably one of my all time favorite Korean dramas ever, no joke. And if you have a conversation with me about that drama, I would probably talk a mile a minute. I did come on the drama because of Yoo Ah-in, who at the time is also at roughly the same fame level as Song, although a bit of a head start. A full 5 years ahead actually. But really, everyone, at least the main stars, came out as winner after that show. But none was more memorable than the ultimate bromance that would trample all bromance. The Georoh and Yeollim line also known as Geollim.

Those two really had the chemistry like no other. I didn't really care all too much about the main love line. The one that actually involves a man and a woman. But man, was the Geollim chemistry intense. Amongst the four, Yoo and Song are arguably the best actors. Maybe that's why they were so believable. But I believe chemistry can't be made up. It's there. And they have an award to prove it.

I could fangirl all day about Geollim. I actually did a bit here. But this post isn't for that. It's for Song Joong-ki. So let's carry on.

Back to Sungkyunkwan Scandal, this is the drama that launched the careers of Park Yoo-chun, Park Min-young, Yoo Ah-in, and Song Joong-ki. Before they were other things. An idol or a rookie actor or actress. But now people know them and agree that they are indeed talented. And with this, Song used his chance to broaden up his skills as an actor. He tried ruining his goody two-shoes image with a role in rom-com movie Penny Pinchers where plays a broke, unemployed young man who doesn't really have anything going for him. It worked, but the movie was somewhat lacklustered. To me at least.

Then comes Trees with Deep Roots. If you've been following my blog (in which I thank you!), you'd know that earlier this year I've raved about this drama. I also promised to make a review of it but that didn't work. Nonetheless it was a great drama that is smart, heart-moving, and just overall great. While it did go the typical some years ago route, it did it well. And the star of that some years ago scenes were none other than Song himself as the young King Sejong. He provided the perfect stage for Han Suk-kyu as Sejong, the later years. Song was able to show the frailty yet determination of the young King and finally showed us the viewers what he was capable of as an actor. I almost didn't want him to go away, but then again that would mean I would miss out the amazing performance of Han. If you're a fan of sageuk, Trees with Deep Roots is a must.

Now we have arrived in 2012. It's a big year for Song. And when I say big, I mean huge. You can't plan this any more perfect. Song was able to do what many actors are dying for: success in both TV and cinema in the same year. Actually, within the same few months. If 2010 was the year he turns heads, this is the year he drops jaws. And other body parts you might want to insert. It was an amazing year for him. Was it coincidental? Perhaps. Or a marketing ploy? There's a probability in that. But whichever way you choose to believe, it's all good for Song Joong-ki.

First let's start with the drama. I know I haven't really watched all too many dramas this year and I know some of you will bitch about how this makes my decision unfair. But you know what, I'm going to say it. It's probably one of the best dramas of the year. Now, this year did see a lot of amazing dramas. More than in recent years. Just before Nice Guy was Bridal Mask which I heard was also a hoot and a half. And multiple others which I can't believe was premiered in 2012 (like The Moon That Embraces the Sun. Time flew fast). Maybe because Nice Guy was aired in the end of the year or because I have a bias for Song Joong-ki and Moon Chae-won, but you know what. This drama was great. And it just reinforced Song's place in this ultra-competitive industry.

And if Nice Guy didn't buy you in, maybe this will. Not only was he in a moderately successful (high teens, low twenties ratings) drama, he was also in a very successful movie. So successful, it raked in a staggering 6 million tickets within the first month alone. That movie is A Werewolf Boy, starring Song as the titular wolf boy and Park Bo-young as his first love. I haven't watched this, even though I want to. We international fans can only get our movies a few months after the Korean premiere. But I've been hearing raves of Song's animalistic yet gentle portrayal of the wolf boy. 6 million people wouldn't be buying a ticket if it wasn't a good movie. Or you know, someone watched the movie 6 million times but I highly doubt it.

It's really amazing the kind of achievements Song has achieved in just 4 years. He transformed from the baby-faced boy into a talented, full-pledged leading actor. He isn't just the guy with the looks anymore. The dude can act, and he can act well. And moreso he, or his management, knows how to pick projects and pick them right. Everyone is going to watch out what his next move will be and with his current resume, I'm sure it'll be another great project.

As for the future, it is bright and green for Song Joong-ki. He has one more year to fully root himself in the soil that is Korean entertainment before he bids temporary adieu next year for military. Sob! Okay, that totally made me depressed. But a man can do many things in a year. Let's just hope he fills them projects that is worthy of a space in the small cabinet that is the modern society's mind. I secretly hope his next project will be the angstiest of the angsty. Over-angst Nice Guy if possible. Because if there's a version of Song Joong-ki that I like, it's the complicated, angsty version. Maybe I'm just weird like that.

But really, has anyone noticed that recently Song just looks super handsome? He usually looks so cute and cuddly but now, it's hotness all the way. The character makes the man, I guess. Or something like that.

Image source: Couch Kimchi, Nice Guy Official, and Allkpop


  1. *Gasp* He's going to military next year? Aww man, no...

    I started to like Joong Ki when I became a fan of Running Man. I love his shy but cheeky personality and he will always have that "Ooh, a puppy!" effect on me. I am glad that he finally got his big breakthrough role with Nice guy and I can't wait when I can see his Wolf Boy movie.

    Joo Won is definitely the other guy who's had such a brilliant year. And he's even younger. Actually, many young actors had a pretty good year, like Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Je Hoon, Seo In Guk, Micky Yoochun etc.

    1. I know right? Can't believe we have to say goodbye to him next year. Shouldn't have mentioned that since now I'm depressed.

      The thing that impressed me the most with Joo Won is that since he first came in Baker King he always comes with a bang. Most if not all his projects (at least dramas) are hits. And it's only been 2! years since his screen debut. Pretty crazy. That's why I mentioned him because his rise is the quickest of them all. Micky Yoochun not withstanding because he's already famous before he tried acting. And I don't think Seo In-guk is at that level yet. He's only had one solid work, though he's very promising.

    2. *going to avoid the dreaded army topic*

      True, Yoochun was famous already before he began his acting career. But I do think that thanks to his latest projects he is now viewed as a more capable actor, not just an idol.
      Seo In Guk is not on that level yet, but he did score three roles altogether in this year, which is pretty good for a singer. And he's not only popular in television, but keeps modelling for fashion spreads and makes appearances in music videos. He is quite popular now after his Answer Me 1997 role. In Guk's got a long way to go, but it think this year has marked a pretty great start.

  2. I think we saw that transition from cute to hot in a microcosm with his transformation as a character in Nice Guy (midway.. new hairstyle, new look, new pants, ultra sulky with a devil may care attitude..)

    The bromance in SKKS was the best thing that drama had going for it. Wasn't a fan of the main love story either. I am so tempted now to see some of his other works, but I just haven't gotten around to them. Tree with Deep Roots though keeps racking in points in the 'ohh pick me pick me next' drama category..

    1. On the topic of hair (I guess), is it just me or is K-drama hair styles periodical? Song Joong-ki's current hair flip seems to be the "it" hair of today, as was the perm bangs of yesterday. If there's anything that's uncreative about K-dramas it's the hair. Most of the time.

      As for Trees with Deep Roots, yes. Go watch it. SJK is only in the first 4 episodes I think, and he was great, if not amazing. But the rest is still magnificent. If not more. It's totally worth it for watching Han Suk-gyu as King Sejong having a mental breakdown, among other things. The creation of Hangul has never been so thrilling.