Chan-wook Park

Oldboy

Spike Lee‘s remake of Oldboy, Chan-wook Park‘s 2003 story of a man imprisoned in a hotel room for 20 years for no rhyme or reason and then suddenly released for just the same, is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated films of the year. While the red-band trailer gave us all of the gore and revenge fantasy imagery our greasy little hearts could desire, these new stills released from the film, courtesy of Huffington Post, are offering us something a bit more subtle to work with, albeit still powerful. The first shot of Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) emerging from his classy steamer trunk to fresh air and freedom for the first time in 20 years is incredibly powerful. He looks tiny, like a doll inside of a suitcase forgotten in that field. This image of Brolin bursting from the casket used on the poster, but it’s his more revenge-happy, confident persona leaping out, rather than crawling that they decided to depict. Two other images show Brolin’s character while he’s still being held captive in Hotel Hell, sporting some Castaway-level facial hair. The fourth still introuduces our heroine Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the young therapist who attempts to help Doucett cope with his situation post-captivity. She deserves that cigarette mightily. Check them out after the break.

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park

In his American film debut, Stoker, director Park Chan-wook‘s sensibility remains intact. Nothing about his sense of humor, eye for framing, or his stylish and brutal portrayal of violence has been softened or altered. The film plays in genre, which Park refers to as a “castle” he likes to regularly take twists and turns in. The critically-acclaimed director doesn’t see himself above genre, though. Park doesn’t subvert genre staples but fully embraces them with a slightly twisted view. We briefly spoke with Park about his genre work, how he’s made an R-rated version of Peter Pan, and more in our spoiler-y chat with him

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Night Fishing

Why Watch? Two years ago, Chan-wook Park announced that he was making a short film with his brother Chan-kyong shot entirely on an iPhone. At the time, he lauded the device for being portable, easy to use and populist in its appeal. It was exciting — a seasoned filmmaker was toying with something new. Anything could happen. In the film, a man goes fishing (after a rock band jams for a while…) before encountering a mysterious woman and engaging with the spirit world. It’s horror done through Park’s tilted lens with a hint of South Korean melodrama and religiosity thrown in for good measure. Sadly (but not surprisingly), the clarity and camera work is absolutely an issue. Although there are a few impressive panning shots that use several well-placed focal points to create the illusion of expansion and contraction, over all the iPhone element is a gimmick that hangs like an albatross. Fortunately, the story is imbued with some colorful, joyous strangeness and an enticing exploration of sacrifice and loss. There are moments that channel Kurosawa and others that go off on their own path through the wilderness. The black and white segment is especially ghostly in its shaded wonderments. It just would have been great to see it shot with something you can’t play Angry Birds on. What will it cost? Around 30 minutes. Skip Work. Watch More Short Films.

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James Ransone

Somewhat incredibly, Spike Lee‘s remake of Chan-wook Park’s beloved new classic, Oldboy, keeps trucking right along. After months and months of casting rumors, informed chatter, (probably) uninformed chatter, and starts and stops, the film is set to star Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley (seriously, this sounds great, right?), but Variety now reports that one co-star has been replaced, thanks to some pesky old scheduling conflicts. The outlet reports that Nate Parker (who recently broke out with his solid work in Arbitrage) has had to leave the currently-filming project, with James Ransone stepping into his role (that of “a doctor who works with Olsen’s character”). While this may sound like a small role, Lee’s original choice of Parker, an actor who is poised for super-stardom, and his replacement pick of Ransone, who he has worked with twice before, indicates that this role might be beefier than it sounds. Why else pick a rising star and a trusted collaborator?

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Park Chan-wook

According to Box Office Mojo, Chan-wook Park‘s first English-language film, Stoker, will hit theaters on March 1, 2013. The film stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till and Dermot Mulroney in a story about a young girl who’s recently lost her father and has to deal with a strange uncle who arrives and embeds himself into her life. It’s exciting to see a definite release (this was on our list of Most Anticipated for 2012 as TBA), and it would be exciting to see any new Park work, but it’s especially interesting to see if he can avoid the pitfalls with making a movie within the studio system. He’s a bold visionary, and it’s unclear whether the potential of limitations might hamper his capabilities or whether he’ll use them to craft something incredible. We’ll see in March, the same weekend that Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium is schedule to screen. Not a bad double feature.

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Now that his stoic role as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger and the upcoming The Avengers has successfully washed the taste of Chris Evans’ failed early career attempts at being the wise-cracking comedic actor out of my mouth, it’s time to start figuring out what he’s going to do next. And according to a report from Variety, it sounds like he’s being pretty wise in taking his next step. Apparently the handsome young fella is negotiating to star in a movie called Snow Piercer, which is going to be the first English language feature from The Host and Mother director Joon-ho Bong. For those of you who don’t usually watch foreign films, Joon-ho Bong makes some awesome movies, so this is a project that should be taken seriously; even if the title and premise, that of a group of people trying to travel by train on an ice-covered world, sound a little lame.

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Every bit of movie news has to be taken with a fistful of salt. With so many moving parts, even the biggest players in the game sometimes see their work fall into the tall grass of development hell. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all of those times you shake your fist at a new project (be it remake or reboot) are warranted, but they don’t always get made. Sometimes, the stuff we’re dreading goes down in flames too. So it’s with that bittersweet spirit that we look back on a few announced projects that still haven’t been made. And might never be.

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We reported back in November about Chan-wook Park setting up his first English-language gig with Fox Searchlight, but at the time, the synopsis for Stoker merely alluded to foul play by the hands of a young girl’s uncle who comes to town when her father dies. According to the usually questionable Daily Mail (via Screen Rant), the uncle is definitely a vampire. What’s more, the rag claims that Oscar winner Colin Firth is set to star as the bloodsucker alongside Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska. All of those names are various replacements for Carey Mulligan, Jodie Foster and Johnny Depp (that guy is everywhere) who were all name-dropped last Fall. Park handled vampires with his trademarked insanity in Thirst, so seeing him return to that is bittersweet. The most fascinating prospect is seeing him handle someone else’s material (sense the script for Stoker was written by Wentworth Miller). Park has written for others, but he’s never directed a screenplay that wasn’t his own. That could be a challenge, especially in the face of the curse of brilliant directors making the jump to American cinema. At the very least, it will be interesting to see the auteur try on someone else’s writing for size. Firth in the mean time will be seen in the forthcoming Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and at some point we’ll get to see Park’s iPhone movie in all its glory.

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Upcoming thriller Stoker looked to have a moment of trouble when its original lead actress Carey Mulligan dropped out of the project. Ever since her breakthrough performance in An Education, Mulligan has been seen as the go to girl when you need a talented young actress. Her attachment to the script is probably a large reason why it sold in the first place. But a crisis has been averted, as the project has managed to snag the girl poised to be the next big thing after Mulligan to take her place. Mia Wasikowska, who turned heads in last year’s indie success story The Kids Are All Right and who gained mainstream success starring in the Tim Burton-helmed Alice in Wonderland is reportedly close to signing on to the film. Wasikowska should gain further credentials before this one goes behind the camera by starring in a big screen adaptation of the Charlotte Brontë novel “Jane Eyre”, which is set to be released in March and looks just like the type of stuffy period piece that would get recognized during awards season. In Stoker Wasikowska would be playing a teenage girl who is forced to reconnect with an estranged uncle after the death of her father. The project is to be directed by Chan-wook Park, whose 2003 revenge film Oldboy gained a lot of critical attention in the US for its quirky yet brutal approach to its material. Park’s projects are always ones to watch, and the Wasikowska grab seems to be […]

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oldboyremake

Just like you might expect, the authors of the original manga are upset that the production of the 2003 version of Oldboy felt they could sell the rights to anyone they pleased.

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thirst-header

Chan-wook Park’s (Old Boy) new film, Thirst, is due in Korean theaters next month and the first trailer has finally made it’s way online. Sure it’s in Korean with no subtitles, but you shouldn’t have too much trouble following along.

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We heard it straight from the star’s mouth. He’s definitely starring in Steven Spielberg’s Oldboy…but there’s a twist.

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Oldboy

Steven Spielberg is apparently in the process of acquiring the remake rights for Dreamworks, in the hopes of directing the film with Will Smith as the star.

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