Busan: CJ Entertainment to Produce Romantic Drama 'Press Play' With Clara Rugaard, Lewis Pullman (Exclusive)

Credit: Courtesy of CAA, Nick Agro / Getty
Clara Rugaard, Lewis Pullman

The music-themed movie will also star Danny Glover and joins the Korean entertainment giant's rapidly expanding slate of international titles.

Korean film powerhouse CJ Entertainment has signed on to finance and produce the music-driven romantic drama Press Play from first-time writer-director Greg Björkman.

The film will star Clara Rugaard, the lead of Netflix's recent sci-fi thriller I Am Mother, and Lewis Pullman, one of the stars of Paramount's upcoming Top Gun Maverick. Danny Glover and Lyrica Okano (Marvel’s Hulu series Runaways) also have lead roles in the project.

Press Play follows a young woman (Rugaard) who has a chance to save the love of her life (Pullman) when she discovers that the mixtape they made together can transport her back in time.

The film will begin shooting in Hawaii just next week. 

Producers on the pic include CJ’s head of U.S. productions Francis Chung (Snowpiercer), Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars), Logan Lerman (Fury, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Jonathan Schwartz (The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, Like Crazy). Executive producers are Jerry Ko, head of international at CJ, and Paul Davis. Fred Lee, Ini Chung and Mina Hwang co-produce.

Björkman, who has a background in visual effects editing (The Fault in Our Stars), wrote the screenplay with James Bachelor (Into the Dark) from a story by Boone.

"Music has always been my magic carpet ride into the past," Boone said Monday in a statement. "This story sprung from that idea — music as time travel."

Other collaborators on the project include Season Kent (Shazam, Suicide Squad) as music supervisor and Patrick J. Don Vito, fresh off his Oscar nomination for his work as editor on Green Book.

"We've always been looking for the right music film to do, as these types of movies do exceptionally well in Asia," said CJ's Chung. "When we heard Greg's vision, we knew immediately that this was the one. On top of that, with Jonathan, Logan and Josh on board, we're confident that we'll create something truly magical."

CJ is a giant in the South Korean film industry. Among its recent local releases is the Palme d'Or winner and Oscar contender Parasite from Bong Joon Ho.

In recent years, the company has mounted an ambitious push into international film production, announcing 18 non-Korean projects in just the last two years. Completed examples include the recent Toronto premiere Endings, Beginnings, directed by Drake Doremus and starring Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan. 

CJ also has two collaborations in the works with Kevin Hart and Universal on English-language remakes of the studio's Korean hits: a remake of Extreme Job, South Korea's biggest theatrical hit of 2019, and the female-driven Bye, Bye, Bye, based on the Korean blockbuster Sunny.

The production deal for Press Play was negotiated by Adam Mehr at Pryor Cashman on behalf of CJ Entertainment. 

Rugaard is repped by CAA, United Agents and Ziffren Brittenham; Pullman is with ICM and Anonymous Content; Okano is repped by Innovative Artists and Jackoway Austen; Glover is with Gersh and Principal Entertainment; and Björkman is repped by Jackoway Austen.