봉준호 감독(왼쪽에서 네 번째)이 19일 웨스틴 조선호텔에서 열린 영화 '기생충' 기자회견에서 한진원 작가의 답변을 들은 뒤, 폭소를 터트리고 있다. 사진 왼쪽에서 부터 배우 이정은, 박소담, 송강호, 봉 감독, 곽신애 바른손 감독(왼쪽에서 네 번째)이 19일 웨스틴 조선호텔에서 열린 영화 '기생충' 기자회견에서 한진원 작가의 답변을 들은 뒤, 폭소를 터트리고 있다. 사진 왼쪽에서 부터 배우 이정은, 박소담, 송강호, 봉 감독, 곽신애 바른손 이앤에이 대표.

“Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho (fourth from left) on Feb. 19 bursts out in laughter at a news conference held at the Westin Chosun Seoul, sitting with the movie’s cast (from left) Lee Jeong-eun, Park So-dam and Song Kang-ho and co-producer Kwak Sin Ae.

By Lee Hana

Photos = Jeon Han

Seoul | Feb. 19, 2020

“There have been so many memorable moments from the Cannes Film Festival in May last year all the way to this year’s Oscars. But ultimately, I hope ‘Parasite’ is remembered for its cinematic merit.”

Director Bong Joon-ho expressed this final thought on his spectacular journey over the past year in a news conference at the Westin Chosun Seoul hotel on Feb. 19 after returning from the U.S.

Bong and the cast and crew of his acclaimed picture spoke to the media at the event, their first in Korea since winning four Oscars, and spoke of their experiences promoting the film and winning multiple awards abroad. Around 500 representatives from over 200 media outlets gathered to meet the cast and crew one last time.

On why “Parasite” struck such a chord with global audiences, Bong said that “unlike (his) previous works ‘Snowpiercer’ (2013) or ‘The Host’ (2006), which dealt with the gap between the rich and the poor within the sci-fi genre, ‘Parasite’ tackles these issues contemporaneously.”

“It’s a film based in the present, and that’s maybe why it has more explosive power,” he added.

Bong also said his team “did over 600 interviews and 100 Q&As” and poured more time into their Oscar campaign than in the film’s production. “The campaign process gives you a chance to dissect a film and observe how it was made,” he said, adding that this allows filmmakers to closely analyze and make sense of their works.

봉준호 감독이 19일 웨스틴 조선호텔에서 열린 기자회견에서 기자들의 질문을 경청하고 있다.

“Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho on Feb. 19 attends a news conference at the Westin Chosun Seoul.

On the black-and-white version of “Parasite” now showing in theaters, Bong said he decided to re-release the film in that format “as a tribute to classic films of the past.”

“When ‘Mother’ (2009) was released in black and white, it added more nuance and layers to the cast’s portrayal of the characters. I think it’ll be the same for ‘Parasite’; it’ll be an interesting experience,” he said.

Turning to the planned TV adaptation of his film produced by HBO, Bong said he will produce the series, with director Adam McKay expanding the story.

“We hope to develop the idea of the gap between the rich and the poor even further in the new series. It’s expected to be a limited series with five or six episodes. Director McKay and I have begun taking the initial steps,” he said.

Bong started the news conference with a big smile while mentioning a personal letter he received from American director Martin Scorsese that same morning.

“I won’t reveal the contents of the letter, but at the very end, Martin congratulated me on the success of the film. He said I should take a break and also to make a comeback soon,” he said, expressing appreciation for Scorsese’s words of encouragement.

봉준호 감독을 포함해 영화 '기생충' 배우와 제작진들이 19일 웨스틴 조선호텔에서 아카데미 시상식 이후 한국에서 공식기자회견을 가졌다.

Director Bong Joon-ho and the cast and crew of “Parasite” on Feb. 19 pose for a group photo at a news conference held at the Westin Chosun Seoul.