Park Chan Wook (“Oldboy,” “Stoker”) is returning to Korean cinemas with an upcoming film called “Agasshi” – or, “Young Lady.” It is based on a Victorian crime novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters and is going to star Ha Jung Woo. Rumor has it that Kim Go Eun will also star.
“Fingersmith” is a dark novel about a young petty thief who enters a wealthy household as the maid of an heiress, whom she is to con into marrying a “gentleman” in the hopes of stealing the lady’s inheritance. But not is all as it seems as the young petty thief and the heiress fall in love, and end up in a dangerous game of betrayal and murder as they are further entangled in this unusual love triangle.
Ha Jung Woo has been cast as the “gentleman,” the man whose own desires fuel his conviction to seduce the maid and the heiress in his own attempt to get the inheritance. Rumors had it that Park Chan Wook had gone to visit Kim Go Eun, a new up-and-coming actress who’s been mostly in movies and made a huge splash in her debut movie “Eungyo,” in which she auditioned for without much acting experience except for school productions. However Kim has denied meeting with Park as she is in the throes of filming “Angry Lawyer” with Lee Seon Kyun.
The film is a bit characteristic of Park Chan Wook, as it involves a dark storyline of lust and greed, and the need to go above and beyond for revenge. Instead of being set in Victorian London, Park will set the film in Korea during the Japanese occupation, which is almost contemporaneous to 19th century London. It reminds me a lot of “Untold Scandal,” which took “Les Liasons Dangereuses” and set it in 18th century Korea.
It’s also quite interesting that the novel is being adapted into a Korean film rather than a Hollywood film first. “Fingersmith” was first adapted into a 2-part BBC period drama series starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Evans but not into a film. And then now to see that film first turned into a Korean one in the hands of Park Chan Wook is incredibly fascinating because the source material sounds so rich that I am surprised Hollywood has not picked it up yet. Granted, Park Chan Wook did make a Hollywood film, but I don’t consider him a “Hollywood” director.
The film is set to begin production in 2015.