Busan: Park Chan-wook Reveals Plans for New Film Projects

Cannes Jury Members Park Chan-wook - Getty - H 2017
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

During various appearances at the South Korean festival, the acclaimed auteur said he is writing a new installment in his famed 'Vengeance' film series, TV projects for both Korea and the U.S., and an English-language remake of Costa Gavras' 2005 film 'The Axe.'

Acclaimed South Korea director Park Chan-wook hasn't settled on exactly what his next film project will be, but the 56-year-old auteur is certainly keeping busy. 

Park made multiple appearances at the Busan International Film Festival this week to participate in the commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the first Korean film. The director attended a special screening of his landmark 2003 thriller Oldboy, gave a master class, and met fans at an open talk event alongside Greek-French director Costa Gavras.

Throughout the event, Park, whose last feature The Handmaiden premiered to rave reviews at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, offered various hints about an ambitious range of projects he's working on.

"I’m writing scripts for feature films, for theater and for TV," he said during a Q&A session following the screening of Oldboy. "I’m writing scripts for Korea and for the U.S.; I'm writing for me to direct or to just produce — a lot of writing," he added. 

Fans of the filmmaker's early revenge sagas — the trilogy of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), Lady Vengeance (2005), which arguably launched his career overseas — will be excited to hear that there is more in store.

“There is another vengeance movie that I am preparing for and that I have been preparing for a long time," Park said. "I’m not sure when this will be made because of investment issues, but this will be a Western movie that also deals with vengeance."

On his recurring attraction to the revenge theme, the director said: "I guess I keep getting this curiosity, that doesn’t get satisfied, about human vengeance. All this anger due to vengeances doesn’t get satisfied no matter how much action you put into it. This is the message of all the vengeance films that I have made so far."

"I have made three vengeance movies, but I think I could keep making more, maybe in the U.S. or in France, maybe anywhere in the universe," he added with a laugh.

During his discussion onstage with Costa Gavras, Park revealed that he has been prepping a remake of the Greek-French filmmaker's 2005 film The Axe.

Park said he's a keen admirer of Gavras' film, but his team later told THR that the film is more accurately described as a second adaptation of Donald E. Westlake's original novel The Axe from 1997. Park read the novel and decided that he wanted to adapt it, before realizing that Gavras already had.

Gavras still holds the adaptation rights and the pair have since become friends. Park's adaptation will be produced by KG Productions, Michèle Ray-Gavras and Costa Gavras' production banner. Park is writing the screenplay in English with Canadian filmmaker Don McKellar. Park's camp said it's unclear when production will begin, and whether he'll shoot something else first, but that he's determined to make the movie eventually. 

The story would certainly seem to be in Park's thematic wheelhouse. The summary for Gavras' 2005 version reads: "Bruno loved his job as a middle manager at a paper company, but optimistically views being laid off as an opportunity. After two years of searching for a comparable position, the optimism turns to desperation. His wife, Marlene (Karin Viard), is working two jobs, and their marriage is deteriorating as their hold on the middle class slips away. Bruno concocts a grimly audacious plan to identify and kill his fellow job applicants so that he is the only qualified person left."

"Director Park would like to strengthen the moral dilemma in this story as much as possible, and he will increase the role of protagonist’s wife," the filmmaker's team tells THR.