South Korea’s CJ Entertainment, best known as the studio behind Bong Joon-ho‘s Oscar winner Parasite, has signed Deon Taylor (The Intruder, Black and Blue, Traffik) to direct the upcoming gothic thriller Grave Hill, the company’s English-language remake of the hit Vietnamese horror film The Housemaid.
The original version of The Housemaid, written and directed by Derek Nguyen, was released in 2016 and became a Vietnamese box office sensation, striking a nerve with a story touching on racial and social themes through the period romance and horror genres. The remake, titled Grave Hill, will stay true to this concept, but take place in the American South during the Reconstruction Era.
Oscar winner Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) wrote the adapted English screenplay in collaboration with Nguyen. The project is expected to go into production in the first quarter of 2021.
Taylor most recently wrote, directed and produced the hit thriller The Intruder (2019), starring Dennis Quaid, Michael Ealy and Meagan Good. His feature Black and Blue, starring Naomie Harris also opened last year. Other recent projects include the upcoming comedy feature All-Star Weekend, which he produced with Jamie Foxx. His next release as a director will be the forthcoming thriller Fatale, from Lionsgate, starring Hilary Swank.
“Deon is a filmmaker who will absolutely push boundaries and challenge sensibilities when it comes to elevating a story – particularly those rooted in suspense with social and racial themes,” said Jerry Ko, CJ Entertainment’s head of international. “His creative vision for Grave Hill involves stepping far beyond the ordinary to retell a haunting story that’s different from anything audiences have seen before.”
Added Taylor: I truly believe Grave Hill is a special, elevated thriller that will speak to social themes we are dealing with today and simultaneously push audiences to the edge of their seats just like the original version did. This is a rare film and I’m very excited to bring it to life with CJ and team!”
Executive producers on Grave Hill are CJ Group vice chairwoman Miky Lee, CJ Entertainment’s Jinnie Choi and Jerry Ko, along with Hidden Empire’s Roxanne Taylor and Motor’s Sean Sorensen. Producers are Don Handfield (The Founder), through his Motor production banner, Timothy Linh Bui (producer of the original Vietnamese The Housemaid), through his Happy Canvas, Derek Nguyen, and CJ Entertainment’s Yeonu Choi.
Grave Hill is part of an expanding slate of English-language films for CJ. Following the historic Oscar success of Parasite, CJ is now working on a Parasite television series with HBO, and producing an English-language remake of Extreme Job, which is one of two current collaborations with Kevin Hart and Universal Pictures on English-language remakes of Korean hits. The other is the female-driven dramedy, Bye, Bye, Bye, based on the Korean hit Sunny.
The company is currently in post-production on two other English-language films, Hide and Seek and Press Play. Hide and Seek, directed by Joel David Moore and staring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is a remake of the Korean studio Next Entertainment World‘s hit social horror-thriller from 2013. Press Play is Greg Björkman’s music-driven romantic drama starring Clara Rugaard, Lewis Pullman, Danny Glover and Lyrica Okano, produced alongside Jonathan Schwartz, Josh Boone and Logan Lerman.
Earlier this year, CJ made a strategic investment in David Ellison’s Skydance Media that will see the companies collaborate on film and TV projects, tapping into libraries that appeal to a worldwide audience.
Glen Mastroberte negotiated the Grave Hill deal for Hidden Empire Film Group, while Adam Mehr at McCathern Law negotiated on behalf of CJ Entertainment.