Busan: Park Chan-wook to Remake Costa Gavras’ Dark Comedy ‘The Ax’

“Old Boy” director Park Chan-wook says he is getting ready to make comedy horror film “The Ax.” The film would be a remake of the 2005 film by Greek-French director Costa Gavras, which was itself a adaptation of a Donald Westlake novel.

The story involves a chemist who is make redundant due to outsourcing, and devises a solution to eliminate his competition.

“I have had a lifetime project to make a film titled ‘The Ax’,” Park said in an open talk with Greek-French director Costa Gavras, held at the Busan Cinema Center on Sunday, at the Busan International Film Festival. “I’ve not yet started filming, but I wish to make this film as my masterpiece.”

“I want to remake this French-language film into an English-language one,” Park said. “And Gavras and his wife have the filming rights, and they are producers of my project. I’ve been working with Gavras family for years.”

In the last few years Park made “The Handmaiden,” an erotic fantasy thriller which appeared in competition in Cannes in 2016. He followed that in 2018 by making English-language TV series, “The Little Drummer Girl” for the BBC based on the novel of the same name by John le Carre.

Costa Gavras praised Park’s versatility. “I’ve watched all Park’s films. It is a surprise that one director could express separate sensitivity, views, and creativity in all four of ‘Thirst,’ ‘Old Boy,’ ‘The Stalker’ and ‘The Handmaiden,’ just to be brief,” said Costa Gavras.

“I did not want to give Park my opinion, as the director of the original film. I have so much trust in his talent and I am very excited,” said Costa Gavras. “I was so happy when I first learned that this very talented director was going to remake my film. I will help as much as I can from France,” said Costa Gavras.

“Initially I wondered how Costa Gavras would finish the story [of ‘The Ax’]. He ended up expressing and wrapping the whole situation with a group dance, which became a very experimental ending sequence,” said the Korean director. “To me it looks like a very simple and easy-to-understand ending. Anyone should be able to imagine what happened from the music and the body movements in that particular sequence.”