After Oscars Success, What Comes Next for the Cast of 'Parasite'?

Song Kang-ho_Choi Woo-shik_Cho Yeo-Jeong_Split - Getty - H 2020
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After the film's historic night at the 2020 Oscars, the world soon may be seeing more of the film’s now-beloved ensemble cast.

After Parasite’s historic success at the 2020 Oscars, the world soon may be seeing more of the film’s now-beloved ensemble cast. The various actors who comprised the pic’s wealthy Park family and the plucky, impoverished Kims were each already big stars at home in South Korea. But after becoming the surprise darlings of this year’s awards season, culminating in a best picture win, producers and sales agents are anticipating an Oscars bump befitting their newfound global name recognition.

Korean acting legend Song Kang-ho, who played the patriarch of the Kim family in Parasite, was by far the biggest name of the cast, having starred in many of the most influential Korean films of the past two decades, including Bong Joon Ho’s prior hits Memories of Murder, The Host and Snowpiercer, as well as acclaimed works from Park Chan-wook (Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), Kim Jee-woon (The Good, the Bad, the Weird), Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine) and others. Shortly after Parasite’s release, Song told The Hollywood Reporter that he had little interest in "crossing over" to Hollywood. "Although I only make Korean films, helping these films be universal and have global influence is something that suits me better," he said.

After having helped Parasite achieve just that, Song appears unlikely to change course. He is currently shooting a big-budget Korean disaster film, Emergency Declaration, directed by Han Jae-rim and co-starring fellow A-list leading man Lee Byung-hun.

Choi Woo-shik, who played Kim Ki-woo, the son of the poor family, appears most likely to make a post-Oscar international pivot. Raised in Canada, Choi is bilingual and was recently offered the lead role in A24’s upcoming Korea-set love story Past Lives, produced by Scott Rudin. Choi’s agency in Seoul tells THR that he’s still reviewing the part. In the meantime, he’s busy shooting the upcoming Korean police thriller The Policeman’s Lineage, based on a best-selling Japanese novel. Choi also stars in the dystopian thriller Time to Hunt, one of just two high-profile Korean titles premiering at this year’s Berlinale.

"The film has certainly attracted more buzz among the reporters and buyers after the Oscar announcement," says a representative for All That Cinema, Time to Hunt’s PR company. Contents Panda, which is handling international sales on the title, similarly says it has received a surprise boost in buyer interest after the Oscars thanks to Choi’s starring presence.

Lee Sun-kyun, who played the detached and deep-voiced Park family patriarch, is set to star in director Byun Sunghyun’s upcoming film King Maker, playing a presidential campaign strategist in the 1960s.

Perhaps the most memorable breakout star of Parasite for international audiences, Park So-dam, who played the Kim family daughter, aka the sly "Miss Jessica," an "art tutor from Illinois," was exposed to international audiences before the Oscars. Park’s Seoul-based agency Artist Company tells THR that she already has received several Hollywood offers, but that they are remaining cautious. "Nothing has been decided yet, but we are open to exploring roles that best suit the actor," an agency spokesman says.

Cho Yeo-jeong, who memorably played the naive wife and mother of the Park family in Parasite, tells THR that she also already has been approached with several offers from international studios. The actress realizes the Oscar halo tends to be fleeting, so she’s looking for another indelible character, perhaps one with a bit more backbone this time. "I still haven’t made up my mind," she says. "I’ve also got some other offers for Korean movies and I’m thinking very carefully about what should come next."

This story first appeared in The Hollywood Reporter's Feb. 22 daily issue at the Berlin International Film Festival.