Park Chan-wook's Vampire Film Thirst Gets Extra US Funding
by Alex Billington
September 11, 2008
Park Chan-wook, the Korean director known for the Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance trilogy, is hard at work on his next film, a vampire flick titled Thirst. Focus Features and Universal have announced today that they will finance and distribute the film, making this the first time that Chan-wook has actually ever received US funding. The story in Thirst surrounds a priest who participates in a medical experiment to find a cure for a deadly disease with traumatic repercussions - which we can only assume have something to do with vampires. The film is currently shooting and is expected to be ready by mid-2009, where it'll most likely hit film festivals before arriving in theaters.
"First, this is a vote of confidence in CJ and director Park, but also having a film of this scale get the backing of a major studio in North America opens up an opportunity for all Korean films," said Katharine Kim of CJ Entertainment, the Korean production company currently developing the film. "Park Chan-wook is one of the most talented and influential Korean directors working today." If anyone has ever seen Oldboy or Lady Vengeance, they'll know that certainly is true. I might even be so bold as to call Park Chan-wook a visionary. I've been anxious to hear about his next project, since the sci-fi comedy I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK never really hit it big and I've been hoping he'd go back to the more dark and intense world again.
Thirst stars Song Kang-ho (from The Host and The Good the Bad and the Weird), Shin Ha-kyun (from Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), and Kim Ok-bi (from Dasepo Naughty Girls) as the leading lady. It's apparently being pitched as a love story with horror and drama. I never actually saw I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, so I can't say whether or not that was good, but I'm a fan of Chan-wook's other films and I'm actually quite interested in Thirst. The fact that a big Hollywood studio is investing in it means that this is probably pretty damn good. I've written about the vampire trend before, which I don't really have a problem with, but it seems like Thirst will be one of the most original takes. Interested?