How ‘Parasite’ Co-Writer Went From Assistant to Oscar Nominee
Nominated for a historic total of six Oscars, South Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite is the big surprise of awards season 2020. The Neon film’s unexpected journey from Seoul to Cannes to Oscars favourite has been especially surreal for its 35-year-old co-writer, Han Jin-won, who made his screenwriting debut on the project and now is nominated alongside Bong for best original screenplay.
It was only four years ago that Han landed his first job on a big-budget film production, working as an assistant in the props and transport departments on Bong’s sci-fi adventure Okja (2017), produced by Netflix. So how did he get here?
Not long after Okja finished shooting in late 2016, Han had returned to his low-key life and was considering pursuing an MA in fine arts when he received an unexpected call from Bong. The director had a new project he was developing, and he didn’t want to lose momentum on it while tied up with international promotional duties for Okja. Bong asked Han if he would be interested in doing some background research for this smaller-budget, entirely Korean-language film he was beginning to envision — the project that would eventually become Parasite.
Photo Credit: Film Still of ‘Parasite’; CJ Entertainment