Remember that abandoned island in Skyfall where villain Raoul Silva takes James Bond? That’s actually based on a real island off the coast of Japan. Now, the upcoming South Korean film Battleship Island aims to explore the island’s dark past.
Hashima Island — commonly known as Gunkanjima, translated as “Battleship Island” in English — is nine miles off the coast of Nagasaki. As Japan modernized during the late 1800s, the island became a site for extracting coal from undersea mines. To accommodate an increasing number of workers, the island’s owners began squeezing numerous concrete buildings on the island, giving it a dense, labyrinthine feel and the profile of a battleship (thus the nickname).
Beginning in the 1930s and until the end of WWII, Japan forced Chinese POWs and Koreans to work in the mines under brutal conditions… which is where the movie Battleship Island comes in.
Though inspired by real events, the film features three fictional characters — played by Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub, and Song Joong-ki (from Descendants of the Sun) — who risk their lives to escape from the island. Filming for the movie wrapped up late last year, but it is still in post-production with a projected release sometime in Summer 2017.