Whether due to coincidence or collusion, 2013 is the year three of South Korea’s best film directors will premiere their English language debuts. Kim Jee-woon’s The Last Stand will hit screens first in January, while Park Chan-wook’s Stoker will follow suit a few months later. Both films look to exist firmly in their director’s respective wheelhouse leaving Bong Joon-ho‘s Snow Piercer as far more of an unknown entity.
One of the biggest questions has now been answered though as The Weinstein Company has reportedly picked up distribution rights for the film in North America, the UK and a few other English-speaking regions. No official release date has been set, but Deadline seems to believe a Summer 2013 premiere is to be expected.
Snow Piercer is based on a French graphic novel called Transperceneige and plays out almost exclusively aboard a futuristic locomotive. The world has become an iced-over post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the only real safety is on this train which is constantly in motion. The last vestiges of humanity live aboard distinctly divided along class lines, but rumors of a rebellion from the lower decks reach the one-percenters living above and threaten to derail mankind’s last hope.
The film stars Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Song Kang-ho (who has worked with all three Korean directors listed above), Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, John Hurt and others, and while English is expected to be the primary language Korean will also be heavily represented.
Like Park and Kim, Bong is on a pretty spectacular streak with his directorial efforts so far. He’s released a feature every three years starting in 2000 with the oddly delightful Barking Dogs Never Bite and continuing with Memories of Murder, The Host and Mother. Not too shabby, but while his excellent monster flick, The Host, was fairly big and featured a solid amount of CGI, Snow Piercer is a different beast all together. It’s a large production with an international cast, multiple languages and a lot of special effects work. And we’re incredibly excited to see the final result.
As to the title of this post, let’s all hope it’s nothing more than a joke. A joke made from the experience of watching the Weinsteins acquire, delay, recut and rename numerous Asian films for no particular reason whatsoever over the years. A very short list of the practice would include Jet Li’s Hero which was delayed two years, Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer which was delayed three and most recently, the Donnie Yen film Wu Xia (aka Dragon) which was purchased in early 2011 and is only now seeing a limited release in the States in a re-edited form.