Acclaimed director Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Thirst, Stoker) has begun production on his latest project – a Korean adaptation of the 2002 novel by Sarah Waters, titled Fingersmith. While Park has been working on English language projects since 2009’s Thirst, that film took the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize – making Park’s return to Korean language filmmaking a very exciting prospect indeed.
The source novel, Fingersmith, is set in Victorian-era London, and centres on the troubled and complex romantic relationship between Sue and Maud. Told in three parts, giving different perspectives on the tale, the layered plot weaves deception, manipulation, theft and murder through a larger story about love and trust. As older generation characters attempt something of a long con, the younger Sue and Maud find themselves being used as unwitting pawns in a disturbing and bitter game – to the tragic detriment of their affair.
The novel was previously adapted in 2005 as a two-part BBC drama, starring Sally Hawkins and Elaine Cassidy as Sue and Maud, directed by Aisling Walsh. For this new version, however, Park Chan-Wook has enlisted his frequent screenwriting collaborator, Seo-Gyeong Jung (Thirst, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance) to adapt the material – switching the setting from Victorian London to 1930s Korea and Japan. While the novel sets its action against a city society ripped apart by class conflict and prejudice, Park’s version will play out against the Japanese occupation of Korea.
The cast will feature award-winning performers Kim Min-hee (No Tears For The Dead) and Ha Jung-woo (Kundo: Age Of The Rampant), while Kim Tae-ri and Jo Jin-woong have also been cast in the movie, which is set for a 2016 release. It could well be that, with Fingersmith, Park will be on course to deliver another intimidating cinematic achievement that might just make its mark on the festival circuit upon release.