SlashFilm is reporting that Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho pulled together an all-star lineup for his first English-language film, Snowpiercer, and got some of the most memorable performances of the year out of them. No surprise, then, that heavyweight talents are eagerly lining up to join his new film Okja. Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Kelly Macdonald, and Bill Nighy are looking to board the multilingual monster pic, joining Tilda Swinton.
TheWrap broke the news. Although Swinton has already confirmed her involvement with the project, the other four actors are in various stages of discussion. Official offers for Gyllenhaal, Dano, Macdonald, and Nighy are expected to go out shortly. The English-speaking actors will play supporting characters in scenes set in New York. Details on their roles have not been given.
Earlier this summer Korean Film Biz Zone revealed that Okja will center on a teenage girl who travels between the rural Korean province of Gangwon-do and the U.S. According to the site, “Okja” is an old-fashioned girls’ name in Korea, but in the film it will be the name of the monster. About 60% of the film is estimated to take place in the States, with the other 40% in the U.S.
Monsters are familiar territory for Bong. 2006’s The Host, which dealt with a creature crawling out of Korea’s Han River, was one of the highest-grossing South Korean films of all time. (It’s also just a really fun movie, chock-full of great performances, a suitably gross monster, pitch-black humor, and even some heartwarming moments.) His last film Snowpiercer was a modest hit hit as well as a critical favorite.
Okja reunites Bong with Snowpiercer‘s Swinton, who was practically unrecognizable as the repulsive Mason. Swinton’s more recent credits include the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck and the La Piscine remake A Bigger Splash. Next year she’ll star in the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! and Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange.
Gyllenhaal is currently enjoying a hot streak that includes End of Watch, Prisoners, Nightcrawler, and Southpaw. Next up for him are Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals and Antoine Fuqua’s The Man Who Made It Snow. Dano, who worked with Gyllenhaal on Prisoners, was seen this year in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. He has two TV miniseries coming up, HBO’s Codes of Conduct and BBC’s War and Peace.
Macdonald is coming off of five seasons of Boardwalk Empire, and recently wrapped a role in Ricky Gervais’ Netflix film Special Correspondents. Nighy last appeared in Pride and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and he is now shooting Lone Scherfig’s World War II comedy Their Finest Hour and a Half. Shooting on Okja is expected to begin early next year.