Have you seen Parasite? No?! Okay, drop everything you’re doing and go see it. Like, now. We’ll wait.
Welcome back! It’s a damn masterpiece, right? Right. And lucky for all of us, its director Bong Joon-ho, who also gave us damn masterpieces like The Host and Mother, hopped on to Reddit to participate in an AMA. If you’ve not heard of these before, it stands for “Ask Me Anything,” and it allows Reddit users to ask a guest of note… well, anything! Joon-ho (with the help of a translator) tackled lots of questions big and small with aplomb. He also revealed, to none of our surprise but all of our delight, that he is an absolute treasure of a man who must be protected at all costs.
The whole session is worth reading, but I’d like to highlight some of my favorite sections. When one Redditor asked Joon-ho (using the simple screen name “DirectorBongJoonHo”) which five people he’d like to have dinner with and what they’d eat, Joon-ho responded, “Hitchcock, Yuna Kim, Kevin De Bruyne, Martin Scorsese, and Jimmy Page, who was my hero in high school. We are eating Spanish cuisine. Lots of paella.” A dinner table with three incredible filmmakers, two incredible athletes, and an incredible guitarist? And paella? Now that’s a dish to remember.
Regarding Parasite, Joon-ho revealed the necessity of respecting the residents of the locations. In a climactic flood sequence, Joon-ho “went months beforehand to talk to them, give them gifts, and ask for their understanding during shooting.” He also compared his working relationship with longtime collaborator Song Kang-ho to Casper the Friendly Ghost “hovering in my mind,” which is of course perfect. Also, Joon-ho revealed that the notorious peach came from a real-life experience with a friend who suffered a peach allergy, so his friends threw a peach at him and were horrified at the results. But Joon-ho insisted he “didn’t throw the peach! It wasn’t me!!” Hmm…
Here’s some rapid-fire Joon-ho answers: Favorite 2019 films? Marriage Story and Uncut Gems. Favorite directors? Among others, he name-checked Brian de Palma, David Fincher, and John Carpenter. Favorite way to relax? Sleeping with his puppy “Zzuni on top of my stomach.” In fact, Joon-ho has a consistently wholesome relationship with dogs. Three dogs were used on the set of Parasite, and Joon-ho made sure they were fed “their favorite food, and dessert.”
On a final, hopeful note, when one aspiring filmmaker asked Joon-ho for advice to get a distributor to pay attention to an indie film, Joon-ho delivered this inspiring piece of poetry: “Don’t be afraid of the future.” Chills.