Song Joong Ki made his long-awaited comeback to screens this month in Space Sweepers on Netflix after a failed marriage in 2019. He currently appears in Vincenzo, a mafia-inspired TV drama series. Yahoo Lifestyle SEA takes a look at the ups and downs of his storied career and speculates if the actor will pull up his socks in this latest drama.
Song Joong Ki is indubitably one of South Korea’s greatest Hallyu A-list stars, on par with peers like Hyun Bin, Lee Min Ho and Kim Soo Hyun. Paid at least US$50,000 per episode to star in a drama, Song is also one of the highest paid actors in South Korea.
Over the years since the early 2000s, the 35-year-old actor has had roles in drama serials, movies, TV shows and even hosted red carpet events in his country like Music Bank and the Mnet Asian Music Awards. Let’s also not forget the innumerable CF (commercial film) advertisements that he’s done, for brands like Samsonite, Samsung and North Face.
Yet, his highly publicised divorce with actress Song Hye Gyo in 2019 and the fall of the golden ‘Song-Song’ couple cast a deep pall over his career, with allegations of hair loss due to his marital woes.
Now, Song Joong Ki is making a comeback in 2021 with Space Sweepers and Vincenzo.
Space Sweepers received some buzz but felt overused and tired as yet another dystopian space genre flick, despite being a first for a South Korean film.
Will Vincenzo be an opportunity for the actor, affectionately nicknamed ‘pretty boy’, to show his fans that he still has it in him?
Yahoo Lifestyle SEA takes a look at the career of South Korea’s ‘Flower Joong Ki’ and how it all started.
1. He wore multiple hats as an actor, host and variety show personality
Song first drew attention with his acting debut in Frozen Flower (2008) alongside veteran actor Jo In Sung. He also struck up a lifelong friendship with fellow co-star Lee Kwang Soo in popular variety show Running Man (2010 – present) and hosted Music Bank in 2009 alongside co-host Seo Hyo Rim.
2. Song’s role in Sungkyungkwan Scandal launched his acting career
It was without a doubt that Song’s role as the wealthy aristocrat and womanising Gu Yong Ha in this 2010 coming-of-age drama was one of the finest moments in his acting career. Perhaps it is also coincidental that Song himself graduated from South Korea’s prestigious Sungkyungkwan University, where he was appointed student council vice-president for his sterling performance in school.
3. His portrayal of ‘Big Boss’ Captain Yoo Si Jin in Descendants Of The Sun made Song a household name
The nation of South Korea sighed despondently when Song Joong Ki was drafted into the military in 2013. But their sighs turned into ones of delight when he re-appeared in 2016 as the uniformed heart-throb Captain Yoo Si Jin, capturing the hearts across the globe.
The show received multiple awards and was named most popular show of 2016 by the Korea Broadcasting Advertising Corporation. It was also on the set of the show that Song fell for his co-star Song Hye Gyo, although rumours say they had feelings for each other even before the drama started filming. The couple tied the knot in 2017.
4. The fallout of Song’s highly publicised divorce implicated family and friends
Hallyu fans were absolutely devastated when the golden ‘Song-Song’ couple fell apart and announced their separation in 2019. After all, you’d expect that two beautiful human beings with perfect looks and lots of money would live happily ever after, right?
Their separation was a shockwave that shook the core of Korea’s entertainment industry, sparking vicious gossip that implicated Song’s father, who supposedly did not know of the divorce until it was released by the media, although sources close to him stated otherwise.
Even actor Park Bo Gum had his close kinship with Song questioned, with accusations lobbed of the younger actor being responsible for the divorce, and had an inappropriate relationship with Song Hye Gyo.
5. Song Joong Ki's last drama series was Arthdal Chronicles.
Prior to 2021, Song's last big drama series was tvN's 2019 fantasy epic Arthdal Chronicles, which aired in June 2019, shortly before Joong Ki and Hye Gyo announced their divorce.
Arthdal Chronicles starred some of K-drama’s biggest stars, including Jang Dong-gun and Kim Ok-bin.
Song was also reunited with his Descendants Of The Sun co-star in that show, Kim Ji-won.
6. 2021 will be Song’s year to reboot his career with Space Sweepers and Vincenzo
As the saying goes – after hitting rock-bottom, there’s only one way to go but up. Even after having had a year to pick up the pieces and grow back what’s left of his hair, Song confessed in a Space Sweeper’s press conference that he was still feeling down when filming started.
His acting in that Netflix movie was neither particularly inspired nor ground-breaking, so it would be natural that viewers are having high hopes for Vincenzo, Song’s latest drama inspired by the Italian mafia.
Will Song show the grit that has propelled him to become one of the world’s biggest Hallyu’s stars, or will the spectre of his failed marriage haunt his acting and bomb the series?
Hopefully, Song Joong Ki oppa will show us what he’s made of and make us an offer we can’t refuse!