Universal Pictures (UPI) and London-based Focus Features will invest in and co-produce director Park Chan-wook
's latest film, "Thirst"
, currently in production. They will join chief investor CJ Entertainment, which has so far driven the project.
The deal, announced Sept. 11th by UPI president Christian Grass, Focus CEO James Schamus and CJ CEO KIM Soo-jung, marks the first time a USstudio has backed a Korean film in production. UPI will also handle stateside distribution while Focus looks to its UK release.
The move is a sign of great confidence in the film's commercial prospects. Director PARK is renowned international for his vengeance trilogy, particularly centerpiece Old Boy which won the Cannes Grand Prize in 2004. Lead actor Song Kang-ho
is a big draw locally and highly regarded internationally for his performances in Bong Joon-ho
's "The Host"
and Lee Chang-dong
's "Secret Sunshine
(Korean title - "Bakjwi") is the tale of a priest who, while undergoing a medical experiment, is transformed into a bloodthirsty vampire.His subsequent nocturnal jaunts become complicated when he winds up involved with the wife of his childhood friend.
This film also stars Shin Ha-kyun
("Save the Green Planet
") and young actress Kim Ok-bin
") in what is rumored to be PARK's first foray into highly charged eroticism. The director's own shingle MOHO films is producing with a release date anticipated for mid-2009.
Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)