Bong Joon Ho made his return to the Cannes Film Festival for a career-spanning masterclass, two years after he became the first South Korean director to win the Palme d’Or thanks to “Parasite.” Bong spent much of quarantine last year working with fellow writer-director Adam McKay on adapting “Parasite” into a television series. McKay confirmed in April the series is not a remake but an original story set within the same universe as the film.
“‘Parasite’ is a film on wealthy and poor families, and that is a problem everywhere,” Bong said at Cannes. “[The television series] will be something of great genius, I hope. I worked with Adam McKay and he’s figuring out the scenario. We’re going to do it in the United States.”
“The subject continues to have resonance in France and elsewhere,” Bong continued. “Many of [us] would like to be rich, but I think in all of us there is a fear of becoming poor. I’m involved in the HBO adaptation [of ‘Parasite’]. It will be a black comedy. I’m working in close cooperation with screenwriter McKay. This time I’m giving my input as a producer.”
Bong said he never expected that “Parasite” would become such a global powerhouse. The film would follow its historic Palme d’Or win at Cannes with more history-making wins at the Oscars, where it became the first foreign-language movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
“I had no idea that ‘Parasite’ would be a such a global hit. Its success was far beyond my expectations. Though I made it in exactly the same way as normal,” Bong said. “And I remain unchanged by it. I mean, look at me, I’m exactly the same.”
Bong also teased another new project in the works, an animated feature that was first revealed in May. News broke at the time that Bong had been working on the animation project since 2018 and finished writing the script in January 2021. Bong revealed at Cannes the film is “inspired by a French scientific book that my wife bought and brought home. The pictures of the sea creatures were extraordinary. After that my imagination took over.”
The book is Claire Nouvian’s “The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss” (2007), of which Bong added, “The underwater colors are absolutely splendid. The starting point was the book. The story and animation flows from it. … Animation is something I really wanted to try. I think the project will be done after my next film. I have the team for special effects. It may come out in 2025 or 2026.”
Additional reporting by Eric Kohn.