'Shoplifters' Director Hirokazu Kore-Eda's Next Film Is A Korean Drama Starring 'The Host' Co-Stars Song Kang-Ho And Bae Doona

Hirokazu Kore-eda has been diligently crafting award-winning fare in Japan for nearly 30 years, culminating with his recent heart-wrenching Palme d'Or winner Shoplifters. Lately, he's begun to test the waters with international productions, first making the French co-production The Truth, a drama starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke, which marked his first project not in the Japanese language. And now he's expanding to Korea, bringing Parasite star Song Kang-ho and his The Host co-star Bae Doona on board his first Korean-language film, Baby, Box, Broker.

Hirokazu Kore-eda will make his Korean-language feature debut with some of the biggest stars of the South Korean film industry. Song Kang-ho, who recently came off the Oscar-winning phenomenon Parasite, is set to star in Kore-eda's Baby, Box, Broker, a drama that centers around baby boxes – boxes that are left out for people to anonymously drop off their unwanted babies. Joining Song is his The Host and The Drug King co-star Bae Doona (who may be best known for her roles in Cloud Atlas and Sense8), as well as Peninsula star Kang Dong-won.

It's one of the most impressive cast of uber-talented Korean superstars that Kore-eda could assemble, with Song and Bae both international awards darlings and Kang recently starring in the highly anticipated Train to Busan follow-up. Song in particular is enjoying the global spotlight after his tour-de-force performance in Parasite earned him the well-deserved international acclaim (but still no Oscar recognition) that he had been enjoying in Korea for years. The arthouse movie background of both Song and Bae are no coincidence, either, as Kore-eda met both on the film festival circuit, which is how this project all came together. Here's a quote from Naver/Soompi (via The Film Stage):

Plans for Broker began about five years ago.

As always, it all began with the actors. I first met Song Kang Ho at the Busan International Film Festival and Kang Dong Won when he was in Tokyo for work. I have continued to stay in contact with the two actors in Tokyo, Seoul, Busan, and Cannes. At first, we simply exchanged greetings but as we continued to share conversations, it naturally led to us talking about working on a film together.

I worked with Bae Doona in 2009, and I thought to myself, 'I hope we work together again, next time as a human character,' and that dream has finally come true over 10 years later. And now I will be working on a film with crew members and Korean actors I greatly respect.

Broker is a story about baby boxes. Right now, working on the script that will move these three great actors, I am so excited. In order to share this excitement with you all, I hope to create a thrilling, heartwarming, and emotional film.

This film, like my latest film, will be one where I am apart from my home country and native language. What will I be able to express and share as we overcome barriers of language and culture? What does it mean to be a director? I hope to explore those questions through this project.

The film, with its focus on social issues and child abandonment, sounds like it will fit in well with the rest of Kore-eda's filmography, which often deal with similar themes, including the Cannes competition title Nobody Knows, the Cannes jury prize-winner Like Father, Like Son, and of course, the excruciatingly beautiful Shoplifters.

The production of Baby, Box, Broker is backed by Zip Cinema CJ ENM, with an aim to begin shooting in Korea in 2021.