Though he’s most known for his brutal, vicious “Revenge” trilogy—comprised of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance—South Korean director Park Chan-wook is not entirely a stranger to science fiction. His 2006 I’m a Cyborg, but That’s Okay, while not exactly a sci-fi movie, has genre overtones, as you probably guessed from the title, and he produced countryman Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer from earlier this year. (He even dabbled in vampirism with 2009’s Thirst.) But for his next project, the auteur, who made his English-language debut last year with the creepiest family drama ever Stoker, is set to tackle the futuristic Second Born, which sounds incredibly promising and just became a movie we’re dying to see.
Variety reports that Park is set to direct and develop Second Born, based on the script by David Jagernauth, which first won the Scriptapalooza contest four years ago, though it has been through subsequent drafts. The story “takes place in a futuristic world in which neural microchip implants are used to store one’s consciousness, leading to black market body-swapping.”
This is certainly rich thematic ground for a filmmaker like Park to work and explore, with a lot of dark nooks and crannies for him to dig into, and there may be even more. According to The Playlist (one of Jagernauth’s cousins is a writer for the site), the original draft of the script also contained a subplot about a “a murdered special agent who is reborn in another man’s body in order to kill a sadistic conspirator.” The writer doesn’t know if that’s still in play or not, but if it is, it could be a clue to the nature of the narrative.
Park will work with David Lancaster’s recently formed imprint Rumble Films. Before he struck out on his own, Lancaster produced notable 2014 indie films Whiplash with Miles Teller and Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal, among many others.
I say this all too frequently, but this really is the best news I’ve heard all day. Park is one of my favorite directors working anywhere in the world right now (Stoker was my favorite movie of 2013). He’s a master of tense and twisted films that never unfold how you expect, and he’s not afraid to throw in a nice long hammer fight when the situation calls for it. The idea of him bringing his unique vision to science fiction, and hard sci-fi at that from this description, can only mean good things in store for all of us.
There’s no word about the timeline for Second Born, but this just rocketed to the top of my most anticipated movies list, so we hope we see it sooner rather than later.