Parasite made history on Sunday night, becoming the first non-English-language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, and now that awards season has ended, the burning question on the minds of many fans is, what’s going on with the HBO limited series inspired by the film? Well, it’s still very early in the development process, and while there’s no official casting at this time — or even a finished script — multiple sources have told Collider that three-time Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo is being eyed to play one of the series’ leads.
Parasite director Bong Joon ho is teaming with fellow Oscar winner Adam McKay on the series, which is expected to be five or six episodes, and is based on the Oscar-winning script by Bong and Han Jin-won. The film followed the poor but cunning Kim family as they ingratiate themselves into the lives of their wealthy employers, the Park family — with shocking consequences.
Plot details for the series remain scarce, and the characters won’t necessarily mirror those in the film, so it’s hard to say whom, exactly, Ruffalo will be playing. However, as with most movies and TV series, the biggest roles are typically cast first. The movie Parasite didn’t really have a lead protagonist, as Neon considered the film a true ensemble piece, but Song Kang-ho, who played the patriarch of the lower-class family, seemed to have the highest profile part. So it’s possible, if not likely, that Ruffalo is being considered for a similar role.
Out of respect for Parasite, and so as not to influence Oscar voting, Collider held this story for the past week, and made the decision to run this story several days before the film won four Oscars on Sunday night. Reached for comment over the weekend, HBO issued a statement.
“The HBO limited series inspired by Parasite is in the early stages of development, and to speculate on any characters or casting is wildly premature.”
While Collider acknowledges that this story may very well be premature, the word “premature” is synonymous with “early,” not “wrong.” We’re not saying Ruffalo has been cast, only that he’s the Hollywood actor most likely to be cast, as of right now, based on what we’re hearing. Again, multiple sources have said that director Bong has reached out to Ruffalo and there is interest on both sides in striking a deal, though official negotiations have yet to begin.
Production would be unlikely to start before next year, as McKay is busy with several other projects at the moment. Bong has previously said that plans for the Parasite series will start to take shape beginning in March, once the Oscars have been handed out, and the director has taken a well-deserved break from the madness of awards season. Though in this case, there was a very happy ending.
When the Parasite series first came to light, Bong said “I had all these key ideas accumulated from when I started writing the script. I just couldn’t include all those ideas in the two-hour running time of the film, so they’re all stored in my iPad and my goal with this limited series is to create a six-hour-long film.” And just what might some of those ideas entail?
“When the original housekeeper Mun Gwang (Lee Jung Eun) comes back in the late-night, something happened to her face. Even her husband asked about it, but she never answered. I know why she had the bruises on her face. I have a story for that, and aside from that, why does she know the existence of this bunker? What relationship does she have with that architect to know of this bunker? So I have all these hidden stories that I have stored,” explained Bong, who will executive produce with McKay and his Hyperobject Industries partner Kevin Messick.
Kate Street Picture Company’s Dooho Choi, and CJ Entertainment’s Miky Lee, Cho Young Ki and Francis Chung will also serve as executive producers, while CJ’s Jerry Ko will serve as a co-EP, and CJ’s Fred Lee will act as producer.
Ruffalo is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, having earned three Oscar nominations for his wildly different turns in The Kids Are All Right, Foxcatcher and Spotlight. He’s also already in business with HBO, as he stars in the network’s upcoming limited series I Know This Much Is True, which arrives in April and finds the actor playing twin brothers, as well as serving as an executive producer. He’s represented by UTA and Lighthouse Management & Media.
Parasite has grossed more than $165 million worldwide, a total that will surely grow after Sunday night’s showing at the Oscars. To read Collider’s original review out of Cannes, where it took home the Palme d’Or, click here.