(This article was written by Screen Rant guest contributor Ryan Connors).
As the crowd thinned out after the Kick-Ass panel (which really did kick-ass), only a few hundred hard-core fans remained for acclaimed Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s first Comic-Con appearance, promoting his vampire-romance Thirst.
As Chan-wook doesn’t speak English, a translator accompanied him in order for him to be able to interact with the audience. After expressing his appreciation for the Comic-Con fans, a trailer for Thirst was played for the partly empty crowd. The trailer was an intense look at a vampire who seems to be constantly interacting with women, whether he is loving them or eating them (and a lot of the time it looked liked both). There are some very gory parts in the trailer.
Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is a selfless priest who, in trying to cure a deadly virus, ends up getting a blood transfusion with infected blood, causing him to become a vampire.
Chan-wook explained that he wanted Sang-hyun to not only be unable to control his blood cravings, but also be at the mercy of his sensual cravings. And thus, sets up the film as a romantic take on vampires.
Chan-wook elaborated on the priest-to-vampire transition and why it has important underlying meanings. Typically when a priest conducts mass, he drinks wine representing the blood of Christ. Sang-hyun, after being infected, must start drinking real blood. As the priest deals with his uncontrollable sinning, he is faced with the question of whether or not he deserves to be punished or if he should feel guilt.
When asked why Chan-wook did a vampire film in the first place (when vampire movies and television and experiencing renewed popularity) he said that the main draw was that he felt sorry for the creatures. He explained that the vampires are forced to live at night and must drink the blood of humans, regardless of if they want to or not. He highlighted that the fall from a priest of high morality to the bottom of depravity is something he wanted to explore.
As expected, one of the questions that arose asked Chan-wook if his movie could be labeled as an Anti-Twilight vampire tale (at this point the crowd erupted in applause at the idea of an anti-Twilight). Chan-wook joked that he hopes his movie will not seem as an anti-Twilight film for his daughter, as then she'd have no desire to see it! He goes on to say that he is trying to remove the “mysticism” from vampires and make them more human.
Some may see it as anti-Twilight in a sense because it is also a vampire romance thriller, but on that's more gritty and harsh, and not nearly as happy or sparkly. The scenes we saw were not focused on the lead male taking off his shirt.
Chan-wook dispenses with a lot of the typical vampire clichés. Sang-hyun doesn’t have fangs, can see himself in mirrors and obviously doesn’t have a problem with crosses (as he is a priest). Chan-wook explained that he wanted to be able to approach financers with the notion that this is a “different” vampire movie.
With a Jury Prize from the Cannes International Film Festival under his belt, it will be interesting to see if his work will be compared to another foreign vampire movie powerhouse Let the Right One In.
Thirst was written and directed by Park Chan-wook and was originally released in South Korea on April 30, 2010. It has a limited U.S. opening July 31st.