“He sort of fooled me”: Parasite Director Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Small Request’ Was More Than What His Trusted Friend Found to Be for the Oscar Winning Movie

Parasite Director Bong Joon-ho Disguised An Avalanche of Work As A 'Light' Research On the Film

Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Jtorquy

SUMMARY

  • Critically acclaimed filmmaker Bong Joon-ho worked with Han Jin Won on Snowpiercer before approaching him for the Oscar-winning South Korean film Parasite.
  • Han Jin Won hadn't anticipated a potentially three-month research project to spiral into a full-fledged screenwriting mission.
  • Parasite won four Academy Awards and both the director and the screenwriter bagged an Oscar for their commendable work on the movie.
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Filmmaking as an art can be as extensive and taxing as it can be intricate, and Bong Joon-ho’s meteoric success, Parasite, is no exception. From charting the storyline and compiling the script to interviewing locals around Seoul and consolidating everything into a screenplay, no stone was left unturned for the 2019 dark comedy and thriller.

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Amongst the movie crew resided Bong’s trusted comrade Han Jin Won, who would soon end up as the film’s screenwriter, toiling away for hours every day for an impeccable execution of the screenplay.

Parasite
Parasite (2019) (Credit: Neon)

But little did he know, working on Parasite was not going to be how the Oscar-winning director had made it look like.

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How Parasite Director Bong Joon-ho Tricked the Film’s Screenwriter

Han Jin Won – who had previously worked as a production assistant on a Bong Joon-ho-helmed dystopian series, Snowpiercer – was handed a fragmented treatment for Parasite while the latter remained occupied with Netflix’s Okja.

Han, 35, who earned his first screenwriting gig in the South Korean tour de force, revealed how Bong’s initial informal request soon unraveled into a tempest of responsibilities. While the director had made it appear as a “light and easy project” to Han, the latter would soon discover the stark reality behind it (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Bong Joon-ho
Bong Joon-ho at the Okja Japan Premiere (Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson)

“In a good way, he sort of fooled me. Once I got started, I was basically working on it every moment that I wasn’t sleeping.” 

After months of laborious research and one-on-one interviews, an assiduous Han presented Bong with results so impressive that The Host filmmaker wanted him to try his hand at Parasite‘s screenplay.

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The Joy of Penning An Academy Award-Winning Screenplay

Ultimately, Han prepared three different variants of the screenplay and before he knew it, he was holding the final copy of his script that bore his name as a co-writer beside one of the most influential South Korean directors.

“My hands were shaking when I picked it up. I couldn’t read it on the spot; I had to go hide in my favorite coffee shop and take my time.” 

Parasite
Cho Yeo-jong as Mrs. Park in Parasite (Credit: CJ Entertainment/Neon)

What began as a potentially quick, three-month research project, eventually burgeoned into the supernova that would gain Han critical acclaim along with an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay under his belt. The film itself landed four Academy Awards and raked in more than $250 million at the worldwide box office (via The Numbers).

Crackling with an atmosphere so tense and poignant and at the same time, so humane, Parasite didn’t take much time to lodge itself among critics and fans as a favorite (via IMDb). No wonder it bagged as many Oscars as it did.

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Parasite can be streamed on Max or rented on Apple TV+.

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Written by Khushi Shah

Articles Published: 815

With a prolific knowledge of everything pop culture and a strong penchant for writing, Khushi has penned over 700 articles during her time as an author at FandomWire.
An abnormal psychology student and an fervent reader of dark fiction, her most trusted soldiers are coffee and a good book.