EXCLUSIVE: Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave) have been set for key roles in feature Hope, the first project from acclaimed Korean director Na Hong-Jin since 2016 hit The Wailing.
The largely Korean-language film will follow the residents of Hopo Port, where a mysterious discovery is made on the outskirts of the remote harbor town. Before long, the residents find themselves in a desperate fight for survival against something they have never encountered before.
Additional casting and pre-production is underway for a shoot later this year in Korea. We understand husband and wife Fassbender and Vikander will speak English in the film and wanted to take part after being impressed by the director’s previous work. It will mark the second time they’ve appeared together in the same film after The Light Between Oceans.
Korean producer-distributor Plus M Entertainment, owned by multiplex chain Megabox, is behind the project after recently inking a financing and distribution deal with Na, also known for Korean movies The Chaser and The Yellow Sea.
Cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo, known for his work on Parasite and Burning, is also on board, marking his second collaboration with Na after The Wailing.
Hope sounds like it will be cut from similar cloth to the filmmaker’s previous films, all of which have been box office hits. 2016 thriller The Wailing played at Cannes before making $50M globally off an estimated $6M budget. That film charted how a mysterious sickness starts spreading after a stranger arrives in a village. A policeman, drawn into the incident, is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.
Hope will be produced under Na’s production banner Forged Films. Plus M is handling international sales and UTA Independent Film Group and Plus M are handling North America. The Korean firm is already eyeing additional IP opportunities for the project.
The director said today: “Oftentimes, a person’s goodwill can lead to unintended catastrophe simply because of differences in perspective. My hope for this film is to cinematically capture that phenomenon in a way that has yet to be seen.“
On their decision to finance the film, Plus M said: “Director Na’s new project Hope is not only a high-quality film but an enthusiastic project that has the potential to expand its IP to various content distribution channels. Above all, we’ve decided to invest in this project because we have the utmost trust in director Na’s creative vision. Plus M will collaborate and support Hope to make it a global success.”
Founded in 2014 by Megabox, one of the biggest multiplex chains in Korea, Plus M is an affiliate of JoongAng Group, which includes JoongAng Ilbo, a major Korean daily newspaper, and cable channel JTBC. The company said earlier this year that it wants to invest $600M in content. Its movie slate has included Hunt (2022), The Roundup (2022), Little Forest (2018), The Outlaws (2017), Anarchist from Colony (2017) and Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (2016). Drama series include I Have Not Done My Best which aired in 2022 and Bulk (WT) which is set to be produced in 2023.
Upcoming, Ex Machina and Tomb Raider star Vikander will star as Katherine Parr opposite Jude Law as Henry VIII in Karim Ainouz’s feature, Firebrand.
Jobs, X-Men and 12 Years A Slave star Fassbender will next be seen in Taika Watiti’s Next Goal Wins and starring in David Fincher’s thriller, The Killer for Netflix.
Na is represented by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. Vikander is represented by UTA, Tavistock Wood, Tapestry and Fassbender is represented by Conor McCaughan, Range Media Partners, Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern, Tapestry. Hong is represented by WME. Forged Films is represented by UTA.