- Title: SOUTH KOREA: "Thirst" puts new spin on Vampires
- Date: 13th May 2009
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (RECENT) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) ACTOR SONG KANG-HO SAYING: "I think an actor should always try to interpret whatever type of character through a new perspective and in a provocative way."
- Reuters ID: LVA5S5SBH1GPTNRDQSYUP5FAJXO9
- Location: Korea, Republic of
- Country: South Korea
- Duration: 00:00:18
- Story Text: The South Korean director who won the Grand Prix at Cannes for "Oldboy", a film that gave revenge a fresh and disturbing twist, returns to the festival with a movie that puts another Hollywood staple -- vampires -- in a new light.
The South Korean director who won the Grand Prix at Cannes for "Oldboy", a film that gave revenge a fresh and disturbing twist, returns to the festival with a movie that puts another Hollywood staple -- vampires -- in a new light.
Park Chan-wook sees his movie "Thirst", about a Catholic priest turned vampire and which will be in competition at Cannes when it opens this week, as a morality tale.
"I wanted to make audiences more conscious of the moral aspects of choices, whether large or small, by presenting a once-in-a-lifetime, life-or-death decision and exaggerating it to the extremes," Park said told Reuters in an interview.
Park, known for films that question human nature through scenes of shocking violence and dark humour, presents a blood-drenched thriller in "Thirst", which opened in South Korea this month to critical acclaim and strong box office receipts.
The movie, called "Bakjwi" in Korean, stars veteran actor Song Kang-ho as the priest who becomes a vampire during a medical experiment and who is then seduced by a bored housewife bent on murder, played by rising star Kim Ok-vin.
"I thought I could add some changes to this old genre by approaching the subject -- vampire-ism, so to speak -- without the usual mystery or romanticism but from a realistic perspective where being a vampire is sort of a disease," Park said.
The movie will be the first Park has entered in competition at Cannes since "Oldboy" in 2004. He will be up against movies including World War Two drama "Inglourious Basterds" from director Quentin Tarantino, who championed Park five years ago.
After "Oldboy", Park finished his revenge trilogy with "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" and then made the offbeat movie "I'm a Cyborg but That's OK".
"Thirst" was the first Korean film to receive production funding and a distribution deal from Hollywood studios with Universal Pictures and Focus Features investing in the project in a vote of confidence for Park, U.S. entertainment trade publication Variety reported.
Industry trade paper Hollywood Reporter also said that "Oldboy" is heading for a Hollywood remake with Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio likely to take the lead in production and Will Smith being floated as the possible star.
One of South Korea's most bankable starts Song playing a Catholic priest turned vampire said this film said it's about time to have Asian films beyond the regional perspective.
"I believe South Korea has already passed the point where its films need to rely on being Oriental. Now Asian films can independently reinterpret what has been considered typically Western," Song said in an recent interview with Reuters.
Song, 42, dubbed by local media as South Korea's version of Tom Hanks for stellar work in some of the country's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, found the role of a vampire all in a day's work.
"I think an actor should always try to interpret whatever type of character through a new perspective and in a provocative way," said Song.
Song, known for his regular guy looks and ability play comedic and dramatic roles, will be making his third trip to Cannes to promote a film.
Actress Kim in the film, who is new to Cannes, said she want the international audience to take the film in their own perception.
"I heard that people have extreme reactions after watching the film and there are many feeling un comfortable with the film made by director Park Chan-wook. I think it is right to evaluate the film as you feel,"
"Thirst" was the first Korean film to receive production funding and a distribution deal from Hollywood studios with Universal Pictures and Focus Features investing in the project in a vote of confidence for Song and director Park, U.S. entertainment trade publication Variety reported.
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