Park Chan-wook, Kim Ji-woon and Bong Joon-ho are back in South Korea after their passage from Hollywood. Park (he probably returned after the massacre Hollywood performed to his masterpiece, “Old Boy”) shot “Stoker” there, Kim “The Last Stand” and Bong “The Snowpiercer”, which was the only actual commercial success of the three.
Park is currently in the stage of post production for “The Handmaiden” a big budget adaptation of British historic lesbian crime novel “Fingersmith.” Park brought the Victorian-era-set erotic thriller to Korea and Japan in 1930, a time when the peninusla was under Japanese occupation.
Amazon Studios will distribute the film in the US and it has already pre-sold in 116 territories.
Kim’s production titled “Secret Agent” is the first Korean production that Warner Bros. is financing and directly distributing. The Hollywood studio is known to have invested $8.3 million. Set in Korea under Japanese imperialism in 1920, this noir spy film stars top Korean actor and Kim’s regular Song Kang-ho and Gong Yoo. The Warner Bros. international production is set for theatrical release in the first half of the year.
Bong is in the stage of pre-production for his upcoming film named “Okja” that has netted investments from Netflix and Brad Pitt’s Plan B and will star Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald and a Korean female actor that has not been announced yet. Bong stated that he now has an even bigger budget than “Snowpiercer”, which was made on $40 million, and complete creative freedom.
The film has been billed as starring a monster named Okja, but Bong said that the beast is not that beastly. “It is a bulky animal, but with a mild and kind spirit. The film is about a warm friendship between a country girl and a brute with stories,” he said. “To me, the crazy world surrounding Okja and the girl looks more like a monster. I want to depict the two characters’ bizarre journey and adventure across the tough world in an original fashion”
“Okja” is currently in pre-production ahead of a shoot that will begin in April next year and span locations in Korea and the U.S. Theatrical release is expected in the first half of 2017.
My opinion is that Korean productions financed by US companies will provide a much better outcome than Korean filmmakers shooting in Hollywood, a tactic that has seldomly produced films with the quality of the directors local ones.
Source: Variety, Hollywood Reporter