South Korean director Chan-wook Park rose to prominence in the aughts thanks to his wonderfully twisted and extremely violent revenge trilogy - "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," "Oldboy," and "Lady Vengeance." Given the huge international success of the trilogy, many saw Park's transition to Hollywood as an inevitability. But despite this popularity outside his native South Korea, the filmmaker has so far kept English-language audiences waiting.
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It turns out Park had a few more Korean films in him before finally going Hollywood: 2006's rom-com "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK" and 2009's vampire horror "Thirst." With those movies and a number of shorts under his belt Park was finally set for his long awaited North American debut, the dark drama "Stoker," starring Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode. However, "Stoker" only just wrapped filming and is not set for release until March 2013, so Park's fans unfortunately still have a bit of wait on their hands.
In the mean time, Variety reports that Park has just signed on to his next big Hollywood project, the ultra-violent gangster pic "Corsica 72." Written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the screenwriting duo behind several recent James Bond flicks and the upcoming "Skyfall," the period film tells the story of two friends who take drastically different paths in in life - one criminal and one honest - and who are brought into conflict by a woman they both have feelings for. Park is the third high profile international filmmaker to be attached to the project, following "Downfall's" Oliver Hirschbiegel and "I Am Love's" Luca Guadagnino. Actor Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man") was also previously associated with "Corsica 72," but it's unknown if he'll figure into Park's version.
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The announcement of "Corsica 72" comes hot on the heels of other Park-related news from the Toronto International Film Festival. Director Spike Lee's long gestating remake of Park's international breakout "Oldboy" was bought by a distributor at TIFF, despite not going into production until next month. Lee's version of the revenge thriller is set to star Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, and Elizabeth Olsen. The popularity and profile of Park's original probably made it a pretty easy sell for Lee and the producers.
So we'll be seeing quite a few English-language works either from Park himself or derived from Park's South Korean work over the next few years. The Hollywood phase of Park's career has been along time coming - here's hoping that the director's harsh and often violent vision of the world can survive a system built on clueless studio execs, test screenings, and focus groups.