EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that Parasite studio CJ Entertainment and Anonymous Content are teaming for a feature adaptation of Choe Sang-Hun’s inspiring April 2019 New York Times inspiring story “Running Out of Children, a South Korea School Enrolls Illiterate Grandmothers,” about grandmothers who returned to school in South Korea to fill classrooms.
Korea-born writer and producer Jason Kim, whose credits include HBO’s Barry and Girls and the Netflix series Love, will adapt. Kim received a WGA Award and was nominated for an Emmy, PGA, and the NAACP Image Award for his work on Barry. He is repped by WME and Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman.
Choe’s story details how, amidst plummeting birth rates in South Korea and the emptying of rural schools, one school, in an effort to fill its classrooms, opened its doors to women who have for decades dreamed of learning to read.
CJ Entertainment optioned rights to the story and will finance and produce an English/Korean-language movie with Anonymous Content. CJ is producing with Anonymous Content’s Tariq Merhab and Nicole Romano. Adam Mehr at McCathern Law negotiated deals on behalf of CJ.
The project joins an expanding slate of English-language films for CJ. Following the historic, critical and $258 million-global grossing success of Parasite, which won four Oscars including Best Picture, CJ announced it is financing and producing an English-language remake of the genre-bending Korean film Save the Green Planet! alongside Ari Aster and Lars Knudsen, with Joon-hwan Jang attached to direct and Will Tracy writing the adapted screenplay.
CJ is also producing an English-language remake of Extreme Job, one of two current collaborations with Kevin Hart and Universal Pictures on English-language remakes of Korean hits. The other is the female-driven dramedy Bye, Bye, Bye based on the Korean hit titled Sunny.
Other CJ projects include Phyllis Nagy’s The Vanished; Drake Doremus’ Aurora; the horror film Housemaid, from Oscar-winning writer Geoffrey Fletcher; an English-language remake of South Korean box office hit The Merciless; and Hide and Seek, directed by Joel David Moore and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, a remake of the 2013 Korean social horror-thriller.