EXCLUSIVE: South Korean writer and director Bong Joon-ho has signed with WME, hot off the success of his dystopian science fiction actioner Snowpiercer. I hear this was a competitive signing for the agency, which also recently inked Michelle Williams to its roster. Bong was previously with CAA.
Snowpiercer was a major coup for Bong, who scored unprecedented VOD returns this summer with the Chris Evans/Tilda Swinton futuristic train picture. That came after Bong fought and won a creative battle with Harvey Weinstein over releasing his version of the film, which debuted via Radius-TWC and added over $11 million in combined VOD/theatrical to the critical darling’s $82 million overseas take.
The award-winning filmmaker has emerged as one of Korea’s strongest cinematic exports in recent years. His feature debut, the 2000 comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite, toured the film festival circuit and starred Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Cloud Atlas actress Doona Bae in one of her first films. Crime pic Memories of Murder screened at Cannes and won awards for Best Film and Best Director from Korea’s Grand Bell Awards.
Bong earned a cult following stateside with his monster movie The Host, which also became the highest grossing Korean film of all time when it opened in 2006. He directed a segment alongside Leos Carax and Michel Gondry in the 2008 omnibus Tokyo! and won numerous critics’ awards for his 2009 crime mystery Mother, the tale of a woman desperately trying to clear her son of a girl’s murder. Mother was selected as the official South Korean Oscar entry and, like many of Bong’s films, weaves together a signature socio-political bent and dark sense of humor.