Rising star Steven Yeun has signed on to play the lead in A24’s Korean immigrant drama Minari, which will also mark his debut as an executive producer.
Isaac Chung will direct from his own screenplay, which is inspired by his upbringing as the son of Korean immigrants in rural Arkansas. Set in the ’80s, Minari will find Yeun playing a man who uproots his family to chase the American dream on a plot of farmland in Arkansas, whose official state nickname at the time was Land of Opportunity. Yeun is an immigrant himself, having been born in Seoul before moving to Michigan with his parents at the age of five.
Yeun will be joined by Korean actresses Yeri Han and Youn Yuh-Jung, who will make their U.S. feature debuts in Minari, which will also co-star Will Patton (Halloween) and Scott Haze (Thank You for Your Service). A24 is financing the film, which Brad Pitt‘s company Plan B is producing with Chung. Production will begin next week.
Yeun is the Walking Dead alum who has proved himself a capable leading man in such films as Lee Chang-dong‘s Burning and Joe Lynch‘s Mayhem. He recently appeared in Sorry to Bother You and and Okja, and he also led an episode of The Twilight Zone on CBS All Access.
Yeun next stars alongside Beanie Feldstein, Richard Jenkins and Amy Schumer in A24’s adaptation of the Tony-winning play The Humans. Yeun is represented by Principal/Gotham Group as well as CAA, which also reps Chung. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news.
A24 has The Farewell opening in select theaters tonight and it is one of the best films of the year. The Farewell premiered at Sundance, and it sure would be fitting if this family film, which sounds like more of a drama, was also ready in time for next year’s festival. With Midsommar and The Last Black Man in San Francisco currently in theaters, and Share slated to debut on HBO later this month, A24 is preparing to open three more films before the end of the year — The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, the Adam Sandler crime drama Uncut Gems, and and the music-driven romantic drama Waves starring Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell and Sterling K. Brown — so the indie studio should be competitive this awards season.