After reportedly battling Fox Searchlight over “Stoker,” and given the lukewarm response the film received from critics and the box office, Park Chan-wook is going back home for his next feature. And it will be another opportunity for the stylish director to put his imprint on a different cinematic sub-genre.
Screen Daily reveals that Park will direct an adaptation of Sarah Waters‘ novel “Fingersmith.” It’s a Dickensian tale of female thieves, but this Korean-language take will take place when the country was under Japanese rule. Here’s the Amazon synopsis of the novel:
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer,” who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves —fingersmiths— for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.
One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives —Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of —passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.
With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways…But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.
Casting on the project —which will be called “Agashi” in Korea, though an English title hasn’t been finalized— will begin this month, with production to begin early next year, but if you want to get a taste of the story, just scroll below. In 2005, the BBC mounted a three-hour TV version of Waters’ book starring Elaine Cassidy, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Charles Dance and Rupert Evans. Aisling Walsh directed it, and you can watch the whole thing right now.