The last we heard about the upcoming drama Stoker it was set to star Carey Mulligan and Jodie Foster, with Ridley and Tony Scott producing and Ridley possibly directing. However, fast-forward five months and we’re hearing word that a certain acclaimed Asian filmmaker may be taking the directorial reigns instead.
24 Frames reports from “two people familiar with the film” that Park Chan-wook, the director behind the masterful Oldboy, is in talks to make his English-language debut with Stoker. The film is about a “moody teenager” whose eccentric uncle comes back into her life after her father dies.
There’s no word why Ridley Scott ultimately decided he didn’t want to direct but I’m guessing it was because he has his hands full with other projects, not least of which are his much anticipated Alien prequels. Not snagging a talented director like Ridley Scott is unfortunate, but if it means we get Park instead then I have to say I’m not all that upset.
Park is one of international cinema’s most acclaimed directors and a personal favorite of mine. In particular Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance – collectively known as “The Vengeance Trilogy” – I think are a few of the most striking, affecting and rewarding movies of the last decade. Park has won many international awards, including the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival (for Oldboy) and the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin Film Festival (for I’m A Cyborg).
Park has only ever made films in his native Korean language and I’m very curious to see how he does with an English-language film. That doesn’t mean Park won’t be just as good working in English as he would in his own language, but undoubtedly there are cultural and language differences (the type of tone, humor, etc.) that he will have to adjust his style of filmmaking to.
The script for Stoker was written by Ted Foulke, which is actually the pen name of Prison Break star Wentworth Miller. This is Miller’s first script but it has nonetheless been getting a lot of attention (obviously).
As previously speculated, Mulligan will be playing the lead role of the moody teenager and I think we can safely assume that Foster will play her mother. The pivotal role of the returning uncle hasn’t been cast yet, but word is it will be a pretty big name completing the trio (“eccentric uncle” just screams Robert Downey Jr. to me).
Park certainly isn’t the first foreign-language filmmaker to make the jump to English-language films: Russian director Timur Bekmambetov burst onto the Hollywood scene with the graphic novel adaptation Wanted back in 2008 (and has since become attached to a thousand and one other projects). Other directors who’ve made the jump include John Woo (Face/Off), Wong Kar Wai (My Blueberry Nights) and the Pang brothers (The Messengers).
In my opinion, Park is one of the best directors (in any language) working today, and I have little doubt he’ll pull off his first English-language film with ease.
More on Stoker as news comes out.
Source: 24 Frames