He said he had no interest in making a superhero film because he “can’t stand people wearing tight-fitting clothes.” In fact, just seeing such outfits is “mentally difficult” for Bong.
But that was three months ago. A lot can happen in Hollywood in 90 days. So when I sat down with Bong for “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, on Monday just hours after “Parasite” was nominated for six Oscars, I asked him once again about Marvel.
“I don’t think Marvel would ever want a director like me,” he said with the help of a translator. “I don’t expect any offers from them anytime soon. Of their movies, I did enjoy the films by James Gunn and James Mangold’s ‘Logan,’ and I think they are great directors who can handle great projects like that. The film industry seems complicated, but I think it’s quite simple for directors. It’s just best to do what you’re good at. And so I don’t really think Marvel and I are suitable for each other. That’s something I just intuitively feel.”
Bong says more modestly budgeted films are more his speed. “I felt much more comfortable with the size of ‘Parasite,’ where it’s like you’re making films under a microscope, you can take a very meticulous and focused approach. And I really felt that that’s what suits me the best. That’s the path that I want to dig deeper into. I don’t think it’s about modesty or even fear. I think it’s about doing what suits me the best.”
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“Parasite,” a dark comedic thriller about a working-class family of con artists who infiltrate the home of a well-to-do family, is the first South Korean movie to be nominated for Oscars for best picture and best international film. Bong also picked up noms for best director as well as original screenplay with Jon Won Han. He movie was also nominated for film editing and production design.
“Parasite” is the favorite to take home the prize for international film, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if it picked up more than one of those coveted gold statuettes.
Even so, Bong insists he won’t prepare any acceptance speeches. “So for the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globes and all the various critic awards, I’ve had to give many speeches and I’ve never prepared any of it,” he said. “I always think of what I’m going to say as I’m walking up towards the stage. So I truly never prepare my speeches, but I do have the advantage of having a translator. So I would say my first line and while the translator translates, I would think of my next line so I always have a time to come up with my speeches.”
When “Parasite” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May and won the Palme d’Or, it became an instant awards season favorite. “My wife watches the edits with me at home before the premiere screening, and she said, while watching those edits, ‘This is so fun,’” Bong recalled. “But she was also worried about the audience’s reaction because there are a couple of controversial themes in this film, and it’s a type of story that really slices your heart open with a sharp blade. It’s not a sweet story. So she expressed her concerns.”
As we know now, she had nothing to be worried about.
While Bong says one of the best things about being on the awards circuit is getting to meeting people like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Spike Jonze and David O. Russell, it was one specific photo with a celeb that he was particularly excited to share with his family.
“Donald Glover actually hosted a screening of ‘Parasite,’” he said. “I’m a huge fan of his works like the ‘This Is America’ music video, the show ‘Atlanta.’ I really saw his genius in those works. And my son is a huge fan of his music. So I took a photo with him and [‘Parasite’ star Song Kang Ho], the three of us together, and I sent it to my son in Korea right away.”
You can listen to the full interview with Bong below. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.