I recently was given the opportunity to sit on on a press conference call with the legendary Chan-Wook Park, director of Oldboy, The Vengeance Trilogy, Thirst, and most recently Stoker. You can read a portion of that call below. If you’d like to listen to the conference call in its entirety, check out our Creepcast iTunes feed.
DRC: Hey, thanks for taking the time. I was looking over your filmography and with Thirst, The Vengence Trilogy, and now Stoker, it’s obvious you are drawn to darker subject matter. What is it about those darker stories that interest you, and also if you could talk about your directing style, which is full of movement, color, and beautiful images, and how that contrast works so well with those dark stories?
CWP: Although I have led a rather peaceful life, without any problems, no big issues to speak of, I find it interesting and bewildering to find that in my inner self there lies a desire for vengeance or feelings of jealousy and other negative emotions. This makes me interested in how this could be. Perhaps this is why I’m making films that examine this phenomenon. When I suggest the audience should examine the darker sides of the human condition, if the film is only ugly and disgusting who would be interested in watching that? It is only when the film is beautiful that I can draw attention to the subject and allow it to draw attention in a serious way. When something so dark is projected in a beautiful way that is when you have irony, and that’s when you’re able to reveal and deal with the complexities of human nature.
David Overwright: How was the collaborative experience working with English language actors for the first time?
CWP: I was worried about the language barrier at the beginning but after I started working with the actors, the language barrier was overcome more easily than I thought. Working with a good translator is important and in the situation where the actors and I were intensively listening and focusing on each other words made us forget there was even a translator around.
Dan Fabber: Since this is your first American, studio film, how did this experience differ from making films in Korea? Was it a positive experience?
CWP: For me, the question is unanswerable. You can’t really evaluate this as being positive or negative. This is because it would be like a Korean coming to America and complaining that it’s raining, to ask why it’s raining. It’s something that one cannot do anything about. Of course, the experience was different than making films in Korea. The American studio shares a lot of their opinions with me and also require a lot of explanation. At first, I didn’t find it to be an easy thing at all, to give an explanation for every element or idea, every directorial choice but at the end of the day, having experienced the whole process, I thought it was very productive. In short, it wasn’t easy but it was good.