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Park Chan-wook Talks Differences Between Korean & American Films, How 'Stoker' Fits In With His Filmography & More

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist March 19, 2013 at 7:00PM

If there is one movie that has caused unending debate around The Playlist water-cooler, it's Park Chan-wook's English-language debut "Stoker." First screened at Sundance and making its slow creep across the country now, it's a twisty, unerringly perverse riff on Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt," wherein a mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to visit his long lost family following his brother's equally mysterious demise. Mia Wasikowska plays the young daughter of the deceased, and an admirably batty Nicole Kidman is the new widow. We got to sit down with director Park and discuss what made "Stoker" so appealing as his first English language movie, how he decided on the composers for the film, and where the film fits in with his filmography.

Stoker Behind-The-Scenes
Let's talk film influences.
Well, let us speak to the influence of Hitchcock, which was already found in Wentworth Miller's script. The most obvious one that inspired the script was "Shadow of a Doubt." And I didn't ever intend to draw any more from Hitchcock than was already in there. In fact, I wondered if I should take out some of those Hitchcockian elements in the script. But then I thought better of it, because if I took that stuff out, given the characters and structure of the film, it was hard to get rid of the shadow of "Shadow of a Doubt." Instead, I chose to accept those Hitchcockian influences and decided to make that one of the layers of this film, one of the interpretations of this film it would lend itself to.

What was the main difference between making a movie here and making it in Korea?
The main difference I noticed was, was how short the pre-production and production was in the United States, whereas the post was much longer in Korea. If you would ask me what my ideal process is, I would say, long pre-production, long production and long post-production.

How did you assemble these actors?
Well, when it comes to our two female actors – they were the kind of actors I'd always wanted to work with. I had been familiar with Mia since she had done that short film in Australia ages ago, and I had always been looking to do a project with her. With Nicole, it's Nicole – what more do you need? If there was some script and the only role was a midget on Mars, I'd still send it to Nicole. That's how much I wanted to work with Nicole. Matthew is the only one that took a long time to get to. It was something of a discovery. I was looking for the perfect person to play Uncle Charlie and then I happened upon Matthew, which is why I'm particularly proud of Matthew's work in "Stoker." 

Where does "Stoker" fit in with your filmography?
It may feel like it's stylistically different but to me it's very much a continuation of what I was doing with "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK." One day I plan on doing another film about the coming-of-age of a young girl and complete the trilogy.

"Stoker" is out now and is expanding nationwide.

This article is related to: Stoker, Chan-wook Park, Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, Interviews

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