Posted on Friday, July 5th, 2019 by Hoai-Tran Bui
For many cinephiles, the phrase “English-language remake” is a red flag — another blatant attempt by Hollywood to capitalize on the success of a popular Korean, Japanese, Chinese, etc., film. And more often than not, those remakes fall flat with both the original fans and the mainstream audiences that they’re attempting to appeal to, either because the cultural essence gets lost in translation or, more recently, because of the polarizing issue of whitewashing. When East and South Asian films are gaining a bigger presence on the world stage, why should remakes even be a thing? But the South Korean company CJ Entertainment sees an advantage to English-language remakes of Korean films. So it’s stepping in to develop them itself.
CJ Entertainment is a South Korean film production and distribution company under the broader media company CJ ENM. It’s the distributor behind Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Palme D’Or winner Parasite, and box office hits like The Man From Nowhere and this year’s Extreme Job, the latter of which is already set to get a U.S. remake with Kevin Hart. But the difference between Extreme Job and Hollywood remakes that have failed in the past is that CJ Entertainment has a hand in developing it. That is, according to CJ Entertainment’s head of U.S. productions Francis Chung. /Film got on the phone with Chung to talk about remakes, the complicated discourse around whitewashing, and why you won’t be seeing an English-language remake of Parasite anytime soon.