‘Elvis’ biopic director Baz Luhrmann likens K-pop idols in military to Elvis Presley

elvis army
Image: Today; British Pathé; South China Morning Post
  • Baz Luhrmann, the director of the upcoming “Elvis” biopic, shared a series of photos on social media yesterday comparing Elvis Presley to K-pop idols in military uniforms.
  • Luhrmann uploaded photos to Instagram and Twitter of Presley and K-pop idols such as Big Bang’s G-Dragon in military uniforms to show the long history of famous artists who have had to put their careers on hold to serve their country.
  • Due to the compulsory military service required for all men in South Korea after the age of 18, several male K-pop idols have had to take a hiatus from music to enlist.
  • Between 1958 and 1960, Presley served as an active military member of two different battalions.

Hollywood director Baz Luhrmann shared photos on social media yesterday comparing Elvis Presley to K-pop idols in the military to illustrate the long history of famous artists who have had to put their careers on hold to serve their country. 

Luhrmann is currently directing the upcoming “Elvis” biopic and has previously directed popular blockbusters such as “The Great Gatsby” (2013) and “Romeo + Juliet” (1996).

Luhrmann uploaded photos to his Instagram and Twitter accounts yesterday of both Presley and several K-pop idols, including Big Bang’s G-Dragon, Monsta X’s Shownu and Shinee’s Onew. 

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In his posts, the 59-year-old director explains how music artists to this day continue to put their careers on hold to enlist in the military, like Presley did in the late 1950s.

“Like Elvis, there are still music artists today who must put their careers on hold to do their national service,” Luhrmann wrote in his Instagram post. “The question on their minds remains the same: ‘What will my career be when I return? If I return?’”

 

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A post shared by Baz Luhrmann (@bazluhrmann)

In 1958, Presley took a hiatus from his musical career after being drafted to the military, where he served as an active soldier on two different battalions until 1960. 

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Due to the mandatory military requirement for all Korean men above the age of 18 in South Korea, several K-pop idols have also had to take a break from their musical careers while they serve their country for a minimum of 18 months.

The South Korean national assembly, however, passed a so-called “BTS law” in December 2020 that allows K-pop idols who have achieved government medals to postpone their enlistment until the age of 30 rather than 28. 

K-pop idols who are currently enlisted in the military include Monsta X’s Shownu, Shinee’s Taemin, Exo’s Baekhyun and SF9’s Youngbin.

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