×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Top Korean Directors Return Home After Working in Hollywood

Bong Joon-ho, Kim Ji-woon and Park Chan-wook are shooting again in their native language

Big, internationally known, Korean directors Bong Joon-ho (“Snowpiercer”), Kim Ji-woon (“The Last Stand”) and Park Chan-wook (“Stoker”) are back in action this year. All three have spent some time in Hollywood, making English-language films for a few years. It took three years for Bong, four years for Kim and six years for Park to return with their new Korean-language projects.

The first one to break the long-term hiatus is Park. “The Handmaiden,” his first Korean-language feature film after 2009’s “Thirst,” is a big-budget film adaptation of British historic lesbian crime novel “Fingersmith.” Park brought the Victorian-era-set story to Korea and Japan in 1930, a time when the peninusla was under Japanese occupation.

Shot in Korea and Japan, the erotic thriller is now in post-production. Handling the film’s local theatrical distribution and international sales, CJ Entertainment is selling the pic at the European Film Market. Sources close to the production say “Handmaiden” will be submitted to the Cannes Film Festival.

Kim’s new title, “Secret Agent (a.k.a. Mil-jeong)” 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, the movie stars top Korean actor Song Kang-ho, who played lead roles in Kim’s debut feature “Quiet Family,” “The Foul King” and Kimchi Western “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” and Gong Yoo. Kim styles the film as a noir spy pic. The Warner Bros. international production is set for theatrical release in the first half of the year.

Bong is the last one to make a real comeback, as “Okja,” his new title, is still in the pre-production stage. Initially “Okja” drew attention as an international film with an investment from Netflix, co-produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B and starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald. The film has been billed as starring a monster named Okja and a girl from a rural area in Korea.

“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,” said Bong when he announced the production in November.

“Snowpiercer” was reportedly made on a budget of $40 million. Scheduled to start production in April, “Okja” is expected to receive a theatrical release in the first half of 2017.

Better known in Asian territories, Hur Jin-ho (“Dangerous Liaisons”) is also returning to the game this year with historical melodrama “The Last Princes,” which is shooting in South Korea. Lotte Entertainment is handling local distribution and international sales.

More Biz

  • Smoke haze covers the Sydney Harbour

    Australia's Seven West to Merge With Affiliate Prime Media

    Australia’s Seven West Media has agreed a deal to acquire regional broadcast group Prime Media. The move is a further step in the consolidation of Australia’s traditional media industry. The two companies announced on Friday that Seven will make the acquisition entirely through the issue of new shares to the owners of Prime. Both companies [...]

  • Ron Meyer

    Ron Meyer Files $10 Million Suit Over Forged Rothko

    NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer has filed a $10 million suit against two art dealers, claiming they sold him a forged Mark Rothko painting in 2001. Meyer accuses Susan Seidel and Jaime Frankfort of duping him into buying the work. According to the suit, he was told that it would be included in an official [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on 'Recovered' Memories at Rape Trial

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges. The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 [...]

  • Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Docuseries Coming From Showtime and Rolling Stone

    Showtime Documentary Films today announced a new limited docuseries profiling controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine. Titled “SuperVillain” and inspired by the Rolling Stone feature written by Stephen Witt, the three-part series will trace how a New York City deli clerk named Daniel Hernandez became superstar rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine — who racked up 2.6 billion streams and [...]

  • Fader Label Logo

    Fader Label Signs Two New Acts, Boosts Staff

    The Fader Label, home to Clairo, Matt and Kim and others, announced two new signings today along with three new hires on its staff. Charlie Burg and Zachary Knowles have joined the label’s talent roster, while Carson Oberg has come aboard as general manager, Yasmine Panah as project manager and Josh Hymowitz as label coordinator. They [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS-Viacom Merger Details Revealed, Shares to Trade on Nasdaq

    Negotiations between CBS and Viacom went down to the wire on the day the long-gestating transaction was finally sealed on Aug. 13. CBS Corp. and Viacom revealed the timeline of the merger talks in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday that runs more than 650 pages. Also Thursday, CBS and Viacom said the [...]

  • Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis

    Hipgnosis Songs Raises Another $295 Million

    Hot on the heels of its deal to acquire a catalog of 108 Timbaland copyrights, Hipgnosis Songs has raised another $295 million (£231 million) — putting its total to nearly $800 million to date. According to the announcement, a total of 231,000,000 C Shares have been placed by Nplus1 Singer Advisory LLP  and J.P. Morgan [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content