SEOUL, March 16 (Korea Bizwire) - Not only does actor Song Joong-ki have acting down, he seems to have mastered the art of modesty, too.
Rather than basking in his renewed stardom, Song on Wednesday attributed his popularity to the novelty of the soldier-doctor couple in the TV series “Descendants of the Sun.”
“I think people like the idea of a doctor dating a soldier because it’s different,” he told reporters at Hyundai Motorstudio in southern Seoul. “Doctors have appeared in many dramas, but a soldier is a relatively uncommon occupation on TV. I think people appreciate that.”
Song went as far as to praise the screenplay of “Descendants of the Sun” as “the best he’s ever seen.”
“I’ve been wondering a lot lately whether I did the script justice,” he said. “Despite having had plenty of time to prepare since the series is entirely pre-produced, I’ve been seeing a lot of room for improvement in my acting.”
Song plays Army Capt. Yoo Si-jin who falls in love with doctor Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo) in the KBS 2TV series, which has caused a huge sensation in both South Korea and China where the show is broadcast simultaneously.
Reflecting the show’s popularity in China, media reports claimed a Chinese college student had been diagnosed with glaucoma from watching too many Korean dramas.
There have even been reports that Chinese authorities have warned people over “health concerns” stemming from watching too much of the series.
But Song says he’s having a hard time believing these news reports.
“I can only guess (at my popularity in China) from media reports and messages from my friends in China,” he said. “I don’t think greater popularity abroad would make much of a difference in my life. Currently, I’m focusing my efforts on preparing for my next work.”
When asked about the scene in which he sneaks a kiss with Kang, Song says it was a result of “hard effort.”
“I was worried about whether it would seem genuine, whether viewers would find it believable, and how intense the kiss should be,” he said. “Thankfully, the response has been positive, which is a relief for me.”
As with any TV series, “Descendants of the Sun” has had its fair share of criticism, with the show being accused of lacking a plot and condoning militarism. But Song advises viewers to hold their thoughts until the end.
“The script isn’t just about love between a doctor and a soldier. It’s also about love for mankind,” he said. “It’s why I chose to be on the show…. Criticisms are welcome, but I hope you watch it till the end.”
The other Song on the show, Song Hye-kyo, says the male Song has a lot in common with Yoo in real life.
“I think Yoo and Song are about 80 percent the same,” she said. “They’re really similar, but Song is more understanding and less talkative than Yoo.”
“I wonder who would have pulled off Yoo as well as Song did. Any actor reveals a little bit of himself when acting, but Song and Yoo were a match made in heaven,” she said.
The 35-year-old also says she’s honored to partner with a younger actor.
“Other actresses, though, seem to work with actors who are at least five years their junior, so next time I want to work with someone even younger,” she said, causing laughter among dozens of reporters the event attracted.
But contrary to her expectations, the three-year gap didn’t make that much difference, she adds.
“He tries to be young, but physically, I think he’s older than I. He gets sick more often,” she said, laughing. “Sometimes, though, I act more childish on the set. I have a lot to learn from him even though he’s younger.”
Despite having two decades of experience under her belt, actress Song, like the actor, says she doesn’t think acting has gotten any easier.
“I’d thought acting would become easier by now, but it’s actually gotten harder,” she said. “I loved reading the script for ‘Descendants of the Sun.’ I thought I understood it well enough to deliver, but the writing was too impeccable, which intimidated me. I tried to have as much fun as I could.”
In addition to the romance between the two Songs, the male camaraderie between Song and actor Jin Goo has garnered attention.
“We may seem like the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, but in reality, we respect one another,” Jin, who plays Song’s right-hand man Seo Dae-young, said, adding viewers should expect more from the two in the latter half of the show.
Jin has partnered with actress Kim Ji-won, who is 12 years his junior, to play a secondary couple in the series.
“He’s extremely mischievous and boyish so I barely noticed the age difference,” Kim said of Jin.
As if the comment embarrassed him, Jin replied, “I’ve actually tried really hard to act close to her age. I’m nothing like a boy. I’m actually pretty old.”
Kim confesses she probably disappointed Jin when they first met.
“He expected me to be like Megan Fox from the Transformers, but he told me later he was surprised to see a ‘little kid’ at the read-through,” she said, laughing.
Meanwhile, the two Songs will depart for Hong Kong in early April for their first international event to promote the show. The event will take place sometime before April 6, which is when the series will premiere on the channel Viu TV in Hong Kong, their agencies say.
New episodes of “Descendants of the Sun” air every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m.’