After carving on a cult gem with 2013’s icy thriller Snowpiercer, director Joon-Ho Bong has set a Korean monster movie as his next project, which has now been snatched up by Netflix and Brad Pitt’s Plan B banner.
Entitled Okja for now, it’s understood that both companies are poised to go all-in on Bong’s vision, investing, backing and co-producing the film as it incubates in the pre-production stage. That’s not to say that the concept is rooted to the drawing board, however, with Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Bill Nighy and Kelly MacDonald all on board to star.
For the filmmaker, that means a bigger budget to work with compared to Snowpiercer – made on a meagre $40 million, a shoestring allowance given its action credentials – while Bong also drew attention to creative freedom being a deciding factor in partnering with both Netflix and Plan B.
“It really is a fantastic opportunity for me as a filmmaker,” said Bong in a statement. “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. The film is about a warm friendship between a country girl and a brute with stories. I want to depict the two characters’ bizarre journey and adventure across the tough world in an original fashion.”
On paper, it reads like a concoction of Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and the new-fangled Anne Hathaway drama Colossal infused with the dramatic beats of, say, a tight-knit drama. Indeed, that’s part of the reason why Snowpiercer received critical adulation two years ago; by balancing high-octane action, a rich world and characters you genuinely cared for, Bong crafted the rarest of Hollywood phenomenons: a refreshing take on the post-apocalyptic genre.
Could lightning strike twice for the South Korean film director? Time will tell. At the time of writing, there’s no word yet of a production start date for Okja, though we imagine it won’t be long before the wheels are in motion on Joon-Ho Bong‘s creature feature.