As Bong Joon Ho’s film received Academy Awards for best picture and best director, the honors set off cheers and a burst of pride in a country fearful of being overlooked.
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The TV adaptation of 'Parasite' seems like more Hollywood white-washing, but Bong Joon Ho's involvement inspires hope
Warning: some spoilers for "Parasite" ahead. "Parasite" won best picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, and...Warning: some spoilers for "Parasite" ahead. "Parasite" won best picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, and Bong Joon Ho won four Oscars himself. "The Big Short" and "Vice" director Adam McKay, who also created "Succession" is teaming up with Bong and HBO to create a spin-off TV series of "Parasite." Mark Ruffalo has been eyed to star. Bong told The Wrap that it will explore intriguing elements that were hinted at in the film but not explicitly explored. However, some fans are fearful that this is just a cynical cash-in and yet another example of Hollywood white-washing a beloved Asian story. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Before "Parasite" even won its four Academy Awards and became the first South Korean film to ever win an Oscar, as well as the first foreign-language film to win best picture, the TV-series spin-off from HBO was announced. While some fans can't wait to dive further into the world that Bong Joon Ho and "Parasite" so beautifully painted, other fans, including myself, are more sceptical. Why does this need to be made? Can you really improve upon the perfection that is "Parasite"? Why is it set in America? Will it have a Korean cast or a white cast? There is a terrible fear that this could turn out to be just another instance where the American entertainment industry white-washes a beloved, critically-adored Asian story. What do we know so far? So far, we know that HBO won the bidding rights after a fierce battle with Netflix — and that Adam McKay will be teaming with Bong Joon Ho to create the limited series, which will apparently run for six episodes. Bong and McKay will both executive produce. Mark Ruffalo is being touted as an early casting possibility, although this isn't yet confirmed. HBO told Collider: "The HBO limited series inspired by 'Parasite' is in the early stages of development, and to speculate on any characters or casting is wildly premature." We also know that the series will be five or six episodes and will pick up on intriguing elements left out of the film. Lastly, we know that more details will likely be revealed in March after Bong has (rightly) had a well-deserved break following the mayhem of awards season. What is worrying? Well, firstly the train-wreck (pun-intended) that is the TV adaptation of Bong's other feature film "Snowpiercer" does not calm any fears about this one. "Snowpiercer" was also an international film, with Korean being spoken as well as English and starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Song Kang-Ho, but the TV series remake has gone through a turbulent time. "Snowpiercer" is being adapted by HBO's corporate sibling TNT but has been in the works for more than four years, has changed showrunners, directors, and networks, and still doesn't have a premiere date despite a trailer going up. Bong isn't involved at all in this one. While we don't officially know whether the "Parasite" series will be in Korean or English (or any other language for that matter), it seems likely that it will be in English. It would be unprecedented for HBO to air a show in a foreign language with English subtitles. Plus, the casting of Mark Ruffalo, as reported by Collider, does ring alarm bells. And fans have already picked up on it. We DON'T need a #Parasite TV Series. We already have the movie which works perfectly.Stop translating and start watching! — Christopher Eaves (@Christopher_PDX) February 11, 2020 Why must the #Parasite TV series be an American remake? The story should be expanded with the original Korean cast. — Jessica Chua (@jayceepeekay) February 12, 2020 As much as I love Mark Ruffalo, please please use the same Korean cast. I'm already relenting on this TV adaptation bc Bong JoonHo himself wants to tell the untold stories; now keep the cast ffs. #Parasite aint Parasite without them. https://t.co/d619wE8TH7 — Embracing Fiction (@EmbraceFiction) February 13, 2020 Yes, Ruffalo (who will star in HBO's upcoming series "I Know This Much is True" as twin brothers) is a fantastic actor. He's been nominated for three Oscars (all for best supporting actor), and has found commercial success with his role as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the MCU. But despite Ruffalo's talent, he is still a white actor being cast in a remake of an explicitly Asian story. One can't help but be reminded of the debacle that was Scarlett Johannson's casting in "Ghost in the Shell," which was based on a Japanese manga. It feels like Hollywood saw 'Parasite' and asked: 'Okay … but what if it was white people?' It smacks of Hollywood white-washing, which is something the industry has been deeply criticised for in the past. International films are constantly being remade by Hollywood with Sweden's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (remade into a Daniel Craig film of the same name), France's "The Intouchables" (remade into "The Upside" starring Bryan Cranston), and Denmark's "After the Wedding" (renamed into the Julianne Moore film of the same name) just three examples. "The Intouchables" and "After the Wedding" received higher Rotten Tomatoes scores than their Hollywood remakes. Even more insidious, however, is Hollywood's obsession with white-washing beloved, critically-hailed Asian movies. Below is a list of five famous examples, but the list could go on. "Internal Affairs" (Hong Kong) was remade into "The Departed," starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon; "Oldboy" (South Korea) was remade into 2015's "Oldboy," starring Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen; "Ju-on: The Grudge" (Japan) was remade into "The Grudge," starring Sarah Michelle Gellar; "Ringu" (Japan) was remade into "The Ring," starring Naomi Watts; and "Seeing Ghosts" (Hong Kong/Singapore) was remade into "The Eye," starring Jessica Alba. All of these American, white-washed remakes received lower scores than their original counterparts, even Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" — and that won best picture. Worst of all, however, is that this announcement feels like the American entertainment industry is just cashing in on the popularity of "Parasite," and using that film's diversity for financial gain. It feels cynical, particularly when the announcement comes when "Parasite" won best picture not one week ago, and is still in cinemas. The film has been hailed as near-perfect by pretty much everyone who has seen it, leading to one of the most joyous, celebrated best picture winners in the Oscars' history. So, if the film is that good, what is the need? You can't improve on perfection, and the movie's themes are so well explored and universal that they relate to every country in the world already. Making a spin-off series will not help the themes of "Parasite" feel any more relatable than they already do. However, there are a couple of signs that this isn't the cynical, Hollywood white-washing that a lot of fans have understandably assumed it is. What is promising? Firstly, and most importantly, Bong Joon Ho is very much involved in this series, unlike the "Snowpiercer" adaptation. hbo parasite tv series!?? 🤔🧐 at least Bong is producing it so i’m on board — TOLO (@erynjt_) February 12, 2020 Parasite TV-Series produced by Bong Joon-ho? Hell yeah — Sergio Miranda (@Sxerrgio) February 12, 2020 Bong, as aforementioned, is executive producing with McKay and it does sound like he will take a central role in the creation of this series — he told The Wrap that it will explore intriguing elements that were hinted at in the film but not explicitly explored. Bong said: "For example, when the original housekeeper Moon-gwang (Jeong-eun Lee) comes back in the late night, something happened to her face. Even her husband asked about it, but she never answered," Bong said. "I know why she had the bruises on her face. I have a story for that, and aside from that, why does she know the existence of this bunker? What relationship does she have with that architect to know of this bunker? So I have all these hidden stories that I have stored." This suggests that the Moon-gwang could be a prominent character in the series, which then suggests that the film would at least be a mix of Asian and white actors rather than just an all-white remake. Bong also told the Hollywood Reporter: "With cinema, you're limited to a two-hour running time. But there were so many stories that I thought of that could happen in between the sequences you see in the film, and some background stories for each character. "I really wanted to explore those ideas freely with a five or six-hour film. You know, with Bergman's 'Fanny and Alexander,' there's a theatrical version and there's a TV version. So with the TV series for 'Parasite,' I think we'll be able to create a high-quality, expanded film." Bong has proven with every film he has done that he is a master storyteller and is always in complete control of his craft (even when battling people like Harvey Weinstein), so maybe Bong will subvert expectations once again. Meanwhile, McKay already has a strong working relationship with HBO. McKay and HBO's "Succession" just won the Golden Globe for best TV drama, while McKay also created comedy series "Eastbound and Down" and "Funny or Die Presents" for the mega cable network. Plus, HBO has ordered two more series from McKay: a limited series about Jeffrey Epstein, and a 1980's-set LA Lakers show. Aside from McKay's strong working relationship with HBO and his excellent "Succession," which has been met with rapturous reviews and plenty of awards, McKay is now a bonafide filmmaker. He won an Oscar for "The Big Short" (for best adapted screenplay) and was also nominated for best director and best picture (as producer) for that movie. His next picture fared even better at the Oscars, earning eight Academy Award nods including best picture and a second best director nod for McKay. He also served as a producer on "Hustlers" and "Booksmart," two well-reviewed movies that were beloved by audiences and hailed for their diversity. This is all proof that McKay has matured into a pretty great, switched-on filmmaker, so at least the "Parasite" TV show would be in good hands should he stay attached. Verdict: Bong's involvement inspires hope — but we still don't need this series Bong's involvement is a huge relief to those who belong to the BongHive, and it certainly seems like his story ideas are worth exploring — plus, the potential story involving the housekeeper suggests a not-total white-washing of the series. But, still, at this moment in time, a TV-spin off of "Parasite" seems superfluous to say the least — "Parasite" is a perfect, timeless film that begs for repeat viewings and ends perfectly. The fact that we don't see everything that happens only adds to the aura of the film. And despite Bong's involvement, the fears that this could be yet another example of Hollywood white-washing a beloved Asian story remains very much alive. If it ain't broke … Read more: The Oscar-award winning director of 'Parasite' was once blacklisted in his own country for being too liberal Bong Joon Ho said his dark comedy hit 'Parasite' was inspired by his own life, and he and the cast bonded by getting drunk Bong Joon Ho won 4 Oscars, tying Walt Disney's record for most Oscars won in one nightJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 9 items to avoid buying at Costco
Once vilified as “anti-American” and “left wing” by critics in South Korea, he has been releasing...Once vilified as “anti-American” and “left wing” by critics in South Korea, he has been releasing one blockbuster after another tackling serious social issues through dark comedy.
Bong Joon Ho said his dark comedy hit 'Parasite' was inspired by his own life, and he and the cast bonded by getting drunk
Bong Joon Ho was speaking at a London Q&A following a screening of his film "Parasite,"...Bong Joon Ho was speaking at a London Q&A following a screening of his film "Parasite," which has just won four Oscars including best picture, becoming the first ever foreign-language film to win best picture. Bong himself won all four of the Oscars — best original screenplay, best international feature film, best director, and best picture — tying Walt Disney's record of the most Oscar-wins in one night. At the Barbican screening and Q&A, Bong said that events in the film were inspired by his own life when a girlfriend got him a job as a tutor. Bong also said that the "Parasite" cast bonded by getting drunk together. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Bong Joon Ho spoke at the Barbican in London in a Q&A following a screening of his global hit movie "Parasite." Bong told the audience, via now much-beloved translator Sharon Choi, that parts of the film's first half were inspired by events in his own life many years ago. "At the time, my girlfriend was teaching English to a boy in a wealthy family and he needed a math tutor, so she introduced me to the family," said Bong. This echoes the set up of "Parasite," where Woo-sik Choi becomes tutor for the daughter of a wealthy family and manipulatively secures his sister as an art tutor for the family's young son. "I worked with her in that house, but the story ends there, we didn't do anything bad. I was fired after two months. That girlfriend, however, is now my wife," said Bong. Bong tied beat Sam Mendes, who helmed "1917," to win best director at Sunday's Oscars, while the film also won best original screenplay, best international feature film, and best picture. Bong won all four awards as writer, director, and producer on the film and the best original screenplay award was the first Oscar any South Korean film has ever won. Plus, "Parasite" is the first film not in the English language to win best picture. And another record to add to that is the fact that Bong's four Oscar wins in one night is now the joint record for most wins in a single ceremony, along with Walt Disney. However, no acting nods were given to the cast despite overwhelmingly positive critical reviews, a campaign for veteran Kang-ho Song, and a Screen Actors Guild Awards win for best ensemble. Song may be the most recognizable member of the cast thanks to his turn in Bong's 2013 film "Snowpiercer" starring Chris Evans, but during the Q&A Bong said that the cast worked together as one. And alcohol helped. "Most of the actors it was my first time working with them, so initially we were quite nervous around each other," said Bong. "But through alcohol, we were able to bond and relax. When you drink at first it's always great, then you end up fighting and by early morning you make up. "Once you go through that process a couple of times naturally you just became a great ensemble," joked Bong. Read more: Bong Joon Ho's translator — who stole the show at the Oscars — wants to make a movie about awards season Bong Joon Ho won 4 Oscars, tying Walt Disney's record for most Oscars won in one night Bong Joon Ho smiling down at his Oscar like he can't believe it is one of the best moments of the nightJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What it takes to be an NFL referee, according to an official who spent 19 seasons in the league