H’wood has ‘Thirst’ for films by Park

Vampire tale generates buzz over remake rights

Even before Park Chan-Wook’s “Thirst” made its Cannes bow, there was buzz about the availability of remake rights. The nightmarish tale centers on a priest who is infected by a virus and becomes a vampire.

Bloodsuckers are a popular theme in Hollywood right now thanks to the success of “Twilight.” That only increased interest in the latest offering from Park, who is fast becoming a magnet for English-language remakes.

Park’s “Old Boy” is being developed at DreamWorks as a potential pairing of director Steven Spielberg and Will Smith; Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison will be producers.

His “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” is being developed by Charlize Theron as a vehicle for the actress to star and produce through her Denver and Delilah Prods.

And his “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” is being developed by “Transformers” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

While Park’s Korean producers on those three pics were able to deal directly with the interested U.S. parties, “Thirst” is a co-production between CJ Entertainment and Universal-based Focus Features Intl., so Focus gets first look on any potential English-language remake.

While CJ Entertainment’s head of international film financing Mike Suh said it is still early days in terms of discussing a remake of “Thirst,” it is another CJ project generating heat.

Bong Joon-ho’s “Mother,” about a feisty widow fighting to prove her emotionally fragile son is innocent of murder, is being circled by a number of U.S. producers.

“There is a high interest in the film, but we’re still in the early stages of talks,” said Suh. “As for Park’s films, they are unique dramas with strong storylines, which is why they could work in other countries.”

In November, Gore Verbinski acquired remake rights to Bong’s monster movie “The Host.” Verbinski will produce with the Vertigo partners and Paul Brooks.

As for Park, the helmer is weighing options for his next project. Aside from producing Bong’s forthcoming adaptation of French comicbook “Le Transperceneige,” he has no specific directing projects to which he’s attached. But the free schedule doesn’t mean he has any desire to get involved in the English-language remakes of his own pics.

“I want them to treat my films as if they were books and I was an 18th century writer who has long been dead,” Park told Variety.