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Song Joong-ki returns to small screen with ‘Arthdal Chronicles’

By Yim Hyun-su

  • Published : May 28, 2019 - 16:31
  • Updated : May 28, 2019 - 16:31

Actor says new period fantasy drama likely to resonate with international audiences, as it touches on universal topics like religion

Song Joong-ki, who rose to international fame after appearing on “Descendants of the Sun,” will return to the small screen Saturday with the much-anticipated tvN period drama “Arthdal Chronicles.”

The show promises to enter uncharted waters both in terms of the storyline and scale, as it is set in a fictional land called “Arthdal” in ancient times. But realizing its unique setting on screen proved a challenge to not just writers but actors.

“At first, I was worried about the parts created by CG effects, which you can’t see on set. We were challenged to act using our imagination,” Song said during a press event Tuesday. He added he was able to rise to the task by speaking to the director and screenwriters and getting feedback in a group chat.

Song’s character, Eun-Sum, who comes from a mixed background, fulfils a long-running prophecy at birth that a baby born on a day when a supernova appears in the sky will bring doom to the world.

The show has no shortage of A-list actors. Song is joined by Jang Dong-gun, who plays Ta Gon, a war hero of Arthdal who led Arthdal to become a prosperous nation, becoming the most powerful person in the land.

Despite his multifaceted character, Jang is easy to work with, according to Kim Ok-bin, who plays Tae Al-ha, the first empress of Asdal.

“Jang is popular on set. He’s always a good listener and makes me feel respected,” Kim said.

The show comes at an interesting time, as there has been a recent lack of major international TV hits from South Korea following the success of “Descendants of the Sun” and “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.”

While the pressure is on, Song says fellow actor Jang helped him with confidence.

“It would be a lie if I said I didn’t feel any pressure,” he said before speaking of Jang. “We worked out together every day for four months, and his presence naturally reassured me.”

Asked about his personal life, he said being married has given him peace of mind.

The new drama has been compared with “Game of Thrones,” but the writers think the HBO series is a masterpiece that sits at the “peak of entertainment in human history,” while “Arthdal Chronicles” is a show in its own right.

“(Game of Thrones) is a great series. We won’t even dream of claiming to be on the same level. We just tried to make a good drama set in a fantasy world,” screenwriter Park Sang-Yeon said.

The show airs at 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays starting this week. It will be available on Netflix.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)