Park Chan-Wook Wielding Axe

Adapting Donald Westlake's killer novel

Back in the days before he landed on Stoker, Oldboy director Park Chan-wook was planning to make his English-language debut with a different movie. Those plans clearly didn't go away, however, with the news that The Axe has come back around to occupy Chan-wook's time once he's finished with Wentworth Miller's chiller.

Based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake (see also Jason Statham's upcoming Parker), The Axe is a thriller about one Burke Devore. Burke finds himself struggling to find gainful employment after corporate downsizing ejects him from his middle-class comfort zone as a paper company's product manager. The answer, you'd think, would be to set yourself ahead of the competition via a ruthlessly targeted CV blitz... but Burke opts to eliminate his rivals in the job market through serial killing instead. Gotta have a system.

"I was planning to make it," says Chan-wook, "but while I was looking for investors, I received the Stoker screenplay. So The Axe will be my next film. I just need to do some more work on the casting..."

He's remaining in Hollywood for the forseeable future then, but says it's not a particular plan. "I was impressed there are so many good stories and screenplays in Hollywood," he enthuses. "And you can shoot many kinds of movies here, such as films dealing with race, which is hard to imagine doing in Korea. I shot Stoker in three weeks, compared to more than 90 days for Thirst. But I'd like to continue working in both Hollywood and Korea. It doesn't matter to me where a film is made. If the story is good, I'll follow it!"

Stoker, starring Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman, is currently in post-production.