As part of its expansion into Hollywood, CJ Entertainment –the Korean studio behind “Parasite” — is plotting an English-language remake of “Save the Green Planet!” — a genre-bending cult film from 2003. “Midsommar” director Ari Aster will produce the remake, it was announced Thursday.
The original film’s director and writer Joon-hwan Jang will return to direct the remake, and Aster and Lars Knudsen will produce the remake through their Square Peg banner.
CJ Entertainment will finance and produce, and the studio has tapped Will Tracy, a writer on “Last Week Tonight” and “Succession,” to write the screenplay.
“Save the Green Planet!” is an offbeat black comedy and apocalyptic sci-fi thriller that played the festival circuit in 2003, including Cannes, and has since received a cult following. Though the plot or the tone isn’t easy to describe, the original film imagines the fate of the human race hinging on a bitter, paranoid and eccentric beekeeper. With the help of his tightrope walker girlfriend, he kidnaps and tortures a businessman who he believes is an alien hiding among humans with the intention of destroying the planet. All the while, a detective is hot on his tail and learns that the businessman is not the beekeeper’s first target.
Executive producers on “Save the Green Planet!” are CJ Group vice chairwoman Miky Lee, CJ Entertainment’s Young-ki Cho and Jerry Ko. The producers are Francis Chung, CJ’s head of U.S. productions, Aster and Knudsen.
Fred Lee, CJ Entertainment’s Los Angeles-based director of development, Ini Chung, CJ’s Seoul-based director of development, and Seoul-based production executive Khan Kwon are co-producing and will oversee development of the project.
“One thing we learned from our success with ‘Parasite’ is that audiences globally are excited to see genre-bending films with big themes. Jang is a master of this in his own right, and we’re so glad to be working alongside Ari, Lars, and Will to help translate what made the original so special to an English language version that feels relevant to what’s going on today,” Lee said in a statement.
“Swinging with youthful abandon between white-knuckle suspense, absurd slapstick, grim horror and a deeply felt (and earned) sense of tragedy, ‘Save the Green Planet’ is one of the most remarkable films to come out of South Korea – among this recent wave or any wave, for that matter. When we heard that director Jang was passionate about revisiting this iconic work, bringing it to the U.S. and updating it to reflect the mess of the world today (which feels even more ripe for this kind of apocalyptic skewering than when the film was first released), we leapt at the chance to be a part of it. We’re honored to be partnering with CJ and with the brilliant director Jang,” Aster and Knudsen said in a statement.
CJ Entertainment’s upcoming films include “Extreme Job” and “Bye, Bye, Bye,” both of which are collaborations with Kevin Hart and Universal Pictures of English-language remakes of other Korean films. The studio also has Phyllis Nagy’s “The Vanished,” Drake Doremus’ “Aurora,” and two other English-language remakes, the horror film “Housemaid” and “Hide and Seek,” which is a remake of a 2013 Korean horror-thriller.
The studio just released through Samuel Goldwyn Films “Endings, Beginnings” from Doremus and starring Shailene Woodley, Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan. CJ is also in post-production on “Press Play,” a music-driven romantic drama from director Greg Björkman.
Adam Mehr at McCathern Law negotiated the remake deals on behalf of CJ Entertainment. Will Tracy is represented by WME and Hansen Jacobson.