Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer was one of the most original, layered science-fiction movies of the past few decades. The bilingual thriller, both American and Korean- Bong hails from Daegu in South Korea – took a French comic book and expanded it into an exhilarating doomsday thrill ride. With his trademark surreal sense of humour and bucketfuls of gore, the director drew career-high performances from a wide-ranging cast and forged a powerfully affecting allegory.
Amongst its ranks Snowpiercer featured Jamie Bell, Chris Evans, Allison Pill, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, and Son Kang-ho. Each actor seemed like the primary choice for their respective role, from Swinton’s cowardly matriarch to Pill’s psychotically sweet primary teacher. The Wrap is now reporting an even more impressive line-up have been invited to star in Bong’s next feature Okja, marking the directors return to the monster movie.
Tilda Swinton has been confirmed to return, and now we know the cast wish-list also includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Nighy, Paul Dano, and Kelly Macdonald. While offers have been made, we are still waiting to hear official confirmation. Both Gyllenhall and Dano have made a series of good casting choices recently; finding a balance between commercial and artistic value in their projects, whilst Nighy and Macdonald seem to perform strongly regardless of the film.
Bong’s Okja is also slated to have a Korean female lead, however candidates for the role are yet to me made public. Very few details have escaped about the project, however key scenes are expected to be filmed in New York. This will be Bong Joon-ho’s second exploration into the creature feature after 2006’s The Host.
The film saw a giant amphibious monster terrorise Seoul, focusing on a dysfunctional family affected by the attacks. The Host set itself apart from other monster movies, playing with archetypal characters without diminishing individual experience and emotion; the film never condescends to its audience and refuses stereotype in an often undemanding genre. Hopefully Okja will be a similarly mature and complex incarnation.