Cannes 2009: Hollywood has Thirst for Park Remake

Remake rights buzz around his latest.

by | May 20, 2009 | Comments

Director Park Chan-wook has a habit of attracting Hollywood to remake his movies. Oldboy is an active project at DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg attached to direct and Will Smith starring. Lady Vengeance is set up as a vehicle for Charlize Theron while Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance has uber-producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura attached. Now, Variety reports, rumours on a US remake are already circling his latest, Thirst, which premiered at Cannes last week.

The film, the tale of a priest killed in a medical experiment who is brought back to life as a vampire and returns home to a congregation holding him up as a miracle, opened to mostly positive reviews and tells a tale very in keeping with cinematic tastes as films like Twilight fire up multiplex crowds.

Cannes 2009
Park Chan-wook on the set of Thirst

The film is a co-production between Universal and local company CJ Entertainment, and the head of international film financing for CJ was quoted by Variety as saying that it was early days for a remake of Thirst. “There is high interest in the film, but we’re still in the early stages of talks,” he said. “As for Park’s films, they are unique dramas with strong storylines, which is why they could work in other countries.”

Park told RT in Cannes last week that he thought international interest in the Korean-language originals was stoking the fires of his local industry. “Certainly there are incremental changes in the way projects are being set up in Korea, for example Universal came on board as an investor for Thirst. More and more the remake rights are being sold and exported into other territories outside Korea, and that’s benefiting the local industry.”

Cannes 2009
Don’t expect to see Park remake Thirst in English.

But don’t expect the director to pull a Hideo Nakata and remake Thirst himself in the English language. “When it comes to remaking my own films in the English language,” he told RT, “I can imagine it’d be the most boring process. I wouldn’t want to dream about it!”

Which is not to suggest he’ll never make an English-language movie. “Much in the way that I’ve got my radar going for a good Korean script in Korea, if there’s a good script coming my way from the US of course I’d shoot a new film there — but I’d go anywhere the good material is.”

For the time being, he’s happy to sit back and plot his next movie away from all talk of remakes. “Right now I think the thing I want to focus on is rest,” he told us. “If I were to start on a new project, though, I would want to do something that was closer to our everyday lives.”