The film is directed by Bong Joon-ho who previously broke new ground with futuristic “Snowpiercer,” a Korean-made English-language picture with a stellar cast of British, American and Korean actors.
Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald have now confirmed their appearances in “Okja.”
The film is one of the first feature movies in Asia to be backed by Netflix, which is in the process of rolling out services across the vast region. (It has previously financed the Weinstein Company-produced TV series “Marco Polo” which was shot in Malaysia and is backing “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2”.) Netflix is expected to launch in South Korea in 2016.
“It really is a fantastic opportunity for me as a film maker,” said Bong in a statement. “For ‘Okja,’ I needed a bigger budget than I had for ‘Snowpiercer’ and also complete creative freedom. Netflix offered me the two conditions that are difficult to have in hand simultaneously,” he said. “Snowpiercer” was reportedly made on a budget of $40 million.
“Also, Plan B Entertainment has also produced bold and daring films. I expect the adventurousness of Plan B to blend with ‘Okja’,” said Bong.
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.