Netflix and Bong Joon-ho Team Up For Creature Feature OKJA

Contributor; Seoul, South Korea (@pierceconran)
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Netflix and Bong Joon-ho Team Up For Creature Feature OKJA

Big news for Korean film fans today as both Netflix and Plan B have confirmed their participation on Bong Joon-ho's Okja. The English-Korean monster feature has already lined up a very impressive cast, with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald currently on board, while auditions are underway for their Korean cast mates.

In a statement, Bong said that "For Okja, I needed a bigger budget than I had for Snowpiercer and also complete creative freedom. Netflix offered me the two conditions that are difficult to have in hand simultaneously." With his $40 million Snowpiercer, Bong already set a record for the most expensive Korean film of all time but it sounds like he will break his own benchmark with his latest, which is being pegged at $50 million.

Okja is the name of a monster in the film, which the director describes as a "bulky animal, but with a mild and kind spirit." Elaborating, he writes "The film is about a warm friendship between a country girl and a brute with stories. To me, the crazy world surrounding Okja and the girl looks more like a monster. I want to depict the two characters' bizarre journey and adventure across the tough world in an original fashion."

Though Snowpiercer performed well on VOD and with critics in America, Bong's frustrations with The Weinstein Company over the film's final cut were well documented. Netflix, which will invest, can ensure the film's wide availability. Plan B, Brad Pitt's production company, is coming on board as a co-producer, alongside Lewis Pictures (Haemoo).

Currently in pre-production, Okja will go before cameras in April in Korea and New York, with dialogue split evenly between Korean and English. The film is expected to see the light of day in the first half of 2017. The film marks Netflix's first collaboration with Korea, where it will begin operations next year.

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More about Okja

bricriu .November 10, 2015 1:42 PM

This is excellent news and another strong indicator that Netflix is really on their game with these new film initiatives. Seems like all the information they've collected on people's viewing habits is going to good use.

Almost makes up for the Adam Sandler deal. Almost...

RoboticPlagueNovember 10, 2015 9:13 PM

I'm still waiting on The Host sequel and The Host remake......

l3reezerNovember 11, 2015 7:45 AM

Just watched an interview with Netflix's CEO the other day about how much more they plan to expand their production initiative. Having watched Narcos and Master of None recently, hearing the anime namedrop in said interview, and now this, touche Netflix.