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Bong Joon-ho
Via Instagram/@festivaldecannes

Bong Joon-ho shares new details on the Parasite TV series spin-off

The director says that he hopes the show ‘will be something of great genius’

Speaking at this year’s Cannes Film Festival – where Parasite took home the Palme d’Or in 2019 – Bong Joon-ho has shared his surprise at the film’s international success, as well as new details on the upcoming spin-off TV series.

ICYMI, the director has been developing a TV version of the Oscar-winning film (which topped Dazed’s list of favourites in 2019) for some time, in collaboration with Succession’s Adam McKay. The English-language adaptation was first announced in January last year, with the filmmaker confirming that it’ll play out like a six-hour film later that month.

Parasite is a film on wealthy and poor families, and that is a problem everywhere,” Bong says of its universal appeal at Cannes 2021. “The subject continues to have resonance in France and elsewhere… Many of (us) would like to be rich, but I think in all of us there is a fear of becoming poor.”

“I had no idea that Parasite would be a such a global hit,” he adds, as reported by IndieWire. “Its success was far beyond my expectations. Though I made it in exactly the same way as normal. And I remain unchanged by it.” Going on to address the TV adaptation – a “black comedy” – he says that it will be “something of great genius, I hope… I worked with Adam McKay and he’s figuring out the scenario. We’re going to do it in the United States.”

In May this year, McKay explained that the show is completely original, though it takes place in the “same universe” as the Parasite feature film: “It’s an original story that lives in that same world.” In February, Tilda Swinton was tapped for a lead role alongside Mark Ruffalo in the series, which was swiftly picked up by HBO. Though the casting choices haven’t been officially confirmed, Swinton has previously starred in Bong’s Okja and Snowpiercer.

While acting as a producer for the Parasite TV series, Bong also recently finished the first of two scripts – one in Korean, and one in English – for upcoming feature-length projects. “The Korean film is located in Seoul and has unique elements of horror and action,” he says, while: “The English project is a drama film based on a true event that happened in 2016.”

Then there’s also his upcoming animation about deep-sea creatures, which he expands on at Cannes. The film is “inspired by a French scientific book that my wife bought and brought home,” he explains. “The pictures of the sea creatures were extraordinary. After that my imagination took over.” Specifically, the book is Claire Nouvian’s The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss, from 2007. 

“The underwater colors are absolutely splendid,” he adds. “The starting point was the book. The story and animation flows from it. Animation is something I really wanted to try.” He also says that he expects the project to be finished after his next film, though apparently we’re likely to be waiting until 2025 or 2026.