Oldboy auteur Park Chan-wook could make his English-language debut ... directing Carey Mulligan


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EXCLUSIVE: Few directors get hardcore film fans excited as much as Park Chan-wook, the South Korean auteur behind the international favorite ‘Oldboy.’

Now those fans could get to see Park direct an English-language movie featuring major stars.


According to two people familiar with the film, Park is in talks to direct ‘Stoker,’ a dramatic thriller about a young woman whose eccentric uncle comes back into her life after the death of her father.

‘Stoker,’ you may recall, is the first film from ‘Prison Break’ star Wentworth Miller, who penned the script in his other life as a screenwriter, and is being produced by Ridley and Tony Scott’s company, as well as Carey Mulligan is playing the young woman, and Jodie Foster is costarring in the movie (the uncle part has yet to be cast, but it’s likely to be a boldfaced name too, according to sources). There’s no known major genre element in the film, which is being developed by ‘Juno’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ studio Fox Searchlight, but the tone sits right in Park’s wheelhouse.

Considered a master of dark, often violent material, Park is best known for ‘Oldboy,’ which won a top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. It’s about a man released from years of mysterious captivity who’s bent on tracking down his captor. Steven Spielberg and Will Smith have been trying to get an American remake going for years.

Auteurs rarely make the jump to English-language films with major stars; Timur Bekmambetov, the Russian-Kazakh director who made the leap to ‘Wanted’ a few years back, is one of the few to do it.

‘Oldboy,’ which routinely lands on surveys of the top Asian films of all time, is one of three movies in Park’s so-called vengeance trilogy, which also includes ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’ and ‘Lady Vengeance.’

Park last was heard from in 2009 with his religiously inflected vampire movie ‘Thirst.’ That movie didn’t get much acclaim in the United States, but with ‘Stoker,’ it may just be a matter of time before a broad American audience gets to see his work in theaters.

-- Steven Zeitchik