Tilda Swinton is no longer attached to Adam McKay’s television reboot of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. The Academy Award winner confirmed to Variety that she is no longer set to lead the HBO adaptation of the Academy Award winning film Parasite, saying “I don’t think I’ll be a part of it, but I’m very happy to be a cheerleader.”
Swinton has been linked to the project since February 2020, where she was set to play the female lead alongside Mark Ruffalo. Korean director Bong Joon-ho is working closely with Adam McKay to develop the series, which is set to be adapted into a six-hour limited series on HBO. Bong Joon-ho has also worked with Swinton in the past on Snowpiercer and Okja. Swinton, who has a close relationship with Bong Joon-ho, praised his film Parasite for being “good for cinema from start to finish.” The 2019 film Parasite won an Academy Award, and took home the awards for Best International Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. It also was the first South Korean movie to win an Oscar, and the first non-English language film to take home the Best Picture award. The TV spinoff is not intended to be a remake, but rather is an original series that will explore the hidden stories and secrets that Parasite did not answer. In a 2021 interview on Josh Horowitz‘s podcast “Happy Sad Confused”, Adam McKay described the show as “an original story that lives in that same world.”
Swinton’s exact reason for her exit still remains unknown, but she is still wholeheartedly supporting the project. As a result of Swinton’s sudden exit, it can be safely assumed that Bong Joon-ho and McKay are now on the search for a replacement actress to play the lead. The show is currently in the making, and in April 2021, McKay gave an update on the series during the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, stating that the show was “chugging full speed ahead with an incredible writer’s room.” Bong has compared his world in Parasite to that of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander film, which was also later developed into a TV series. Parasite is categorized as a dark comic thriller, with moments of horror balanced with moments of levity.
Swinton is most famous for her role as White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and for portraying Madame D in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Most recently, she starred in Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. In addition to the Parasite series, Bong is also overseeing the adaptation of sci-fi novel Mickey7, starring Robert Pattinson, and he is also currently writing and developing an untitled animated project.
The Parasite series is still in development, and a release date is yet to be announced.