Netflix and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment are all aboard “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho’s upcoming “Okja,” starring Tilda Swinton—so deliciously eccentric in the Korean filmmaker’s post-apocalyptic train tale—Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy, and Kelly Macdonald. The titular creature has a softer side, though, Variety reports. As in the director’s last film, he says, it’s “the crazy world surrounding [the characters that] looks more like a monster.”
Having financed both the “Game of Thrones” imitator “Marco Polo” and the upcoming “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel, Netflix continues to bring its substantial resources to bear in the Asian film market. Collider reports that Netflix is committing $50 million to the project, $8 million more than the budget for “Snowpiercer.” Despite the price, it may well turn out to be a canny move for the company, particularly given the success of the pioneering distribution model of “Snowpiercer,” which landed on VOD—via the Weinsteins’ RADiUS label—two weeks after its theatrical release and still did remarkably well for a heady sci-fi film with an arthouse director behind it. “Okja” now comes with high expectations.
We’ll see what Bong does with the creative freedom that Netflix and Plan B are known to provide, but his track record suggests that confidence is in order. “Snowpiercer” was a visionary portrait of late
capitalism’s last throes, hurtling
headlong into our privatized future with visual wit and wild humor; his 2006 monster movie “The Host” was one of the last decade’s best horror movies, suspenseful and poignant at once.
“Okja” is now in pre-production for a U.S./Korea shoot beginning in April, and is expected to land in theaters in early 2017.