Steven Yeun has signed on to lead A24’s Korean immigrant drama, Minari. Isaac Chung will direct from his own screenplay, inspired by his upbringing as the son of Korean immigrants in 1980s Arkansas. Yeun will play a man who uproots his family to chase the American Dream on a plot of farmland in Arkansas whose official state nickname, at the time, was Land Of Opportunity.
Korean actresses Yeri Han and Youn Yuh-Jung will make their US feature debuts with the film, while Will Patton and Scott Haze co-star. A24 is financing the film, with Brad Pitt‘s Plan B producing. Production will start next week.
Yeun is a rising star in the industry. He’s a Walking Dead alum who’s already given excellent performances in Lee Chang-dong‘s acclaimed Burning, Netflix’s Okja, and Sorry To Bother You. As an immigrant himself, having been born in Seoul before moving to Michigan with his parents at age five, this story is probably very personal to him as well as Chung.
Anyone who has seen Burning knows that Yeun is a star in the making. The fact that A24 and Plan B are producing – two studios with excellent track records – instantly makes Minari one of the most anticipated films of 2020.
Until then, Yeun will star alongside Beanie Feldstein, Richard Jenkins and Amy Schumer in another A24 production, The Humans. That’s an adaptation of the Tony-award winning play of the same name. A24 also has The Farewell hitting US cinemas today. Starring Awkwafina as a woman returning to China to see her dying grandmother, the film garnered acclaim during its festival run.
With other exciting projects arriving before the end of the year – including The Lighthouse and the Safdie brother’s Uncut Gems – expect A24’s excellent track record to continue.