A Conversation With Thirst Director Park Chan-wook

On Catholicism, revenge, and how to make tasty fake blood.

Vampire stories in film and on TV happen to be very popular in America at the moment. How will Thirst differentiate itself?

A: I haven’t seen these films so it’s very hard to compare. But making guesses based on what I heard others say about these films, Thirst probably differentiates itself by not having the things you would expect to find in a conventional vampire film, such as fangs and the garlic and turning into bats. Taking out any mythical elements of the vampire story and actually dealing with it in a more biological way, at an almost existential level, is different.

I’ve read Steven Spielberg and Will Smith plan to remake Old Boy. What do you think of the idea, and what’s the status of the movie?

I only know as much as you do. Honestly, I haven’t heard anything.

Generally, then, what do you think about the idea of an American filmmaker remaking one of your films?

A: I think it’s a very interesting idea, and I can’t wait to see these films if they’re made. As a story from one culture travels to another culture, how the story changes is what I’m most interested in. I myself have taken a Japanese comic book (which became Old Boy) and did with it whatever I wanted to, changing lots of elements of the story. And I’ve done the same with a French novel (Emile Zola’s Therese Raquin inspired Thirst). So it interests me to see how different filmmakers from other parts of the world, from different cultural backgrounds, would change the films that I have made.

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