Published On: Sat, Jan 11th, 2020

HBO Is Remaking Parasite as a Limited Series That No One Asked For

Edit TagsReport This Woo-sik Choi and So-dam Park in Gisaengchung (2019)

Bong Joon Ho’s wildly original thriller Parasite is being adapted into a limited series by HBO and director Adam McKay. The critically acclaimed Korean film, which has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes, and will likely take home an Oscar next month, is easily the best film of 2019.

So why mess with perfection? During his Golden Globes acceptance speech, Bong Joon Ho said (via translator), “Once you overcome the 1-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” And he’s right: foreign films expose viewers to different cultures while at the same time show the universality of the human experience.

After all, you don’t have to be Korean to relate to the themes of class warfare and wealth inequality in the film. And while Adam McKay is a great director with a resume that spans Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy to The Big Short, I’m not sure what he’s trying to accomplish here. After all, the original Parasite has set the bar so damn high: I don’t think there’s a world in which it can be improved.

The limited series, which would presumably take place in America, would also be hampered by the sheer originality of its predecessor. Part of the thrill of Parasite is that you have absolutely no idea where it’s going. It’s the rare theater-going experience where you truly can’t predict how the story will unfold. Given the film’s massive success, will the twists and turns still hold up in the limited series? Or will the show take the bare bones premise and craft something completely different?

Parasite would be the second Bong Joon Ho film to get a series adaptation. His 2013 dystopian thriller Snowpiercer is headed to TNT as a big budget series starring Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly. While the series has struggled with showrunner changes and other issues, it is now set to be released this year.

There’s no doubt that America is overdue for its own biting take on class warfare, but Parasite should function more as a jumping off point than a remake. McKay should take inspiration from the TV series Fargo, which used a beloved film as inspiration to weave its own tales of crime in the Midwest.

HBO already had great success with their adaptation of Watchmen, which took the framework of the graphic novel to tell an entirely original story. Ironically, the best call for Parasite the series would be to stay as far away from Parasite the film as possible.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: CJ Entertainment)

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