Tilda Swinton has officially exited from the HBO television adaptation of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. Parasite was a 2019 South Korean thriller film written and directed by the Snowpiercer filmmaker which received major critical acclaim. The film grossed $258.7 million worldwide, and would go on to win four Academy Awards in 2020, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. Parasite was the first South Korean film to receive recognition from the Academy Awards, and was the first non-English-language film to win for Best Picture.
In January 2020, a month before Parasite‘s big Oscar wins, it was announced that the film was going to be adapted into an English-language limited series on HBO. The television series is set to be produced by Joon-ho, alongside Anchorman and Don’t Look Up director Adam McKay. Like the film, the show will also be entitled Parasite, and will subsist of six hour-long episodes. Rather than re-telling the story of the acclaimed movie, however, the show will be set in the same universe as the film, but tell entirely new stories, with McKay describing Parasite as “an original series… that lives in that same world.” Just a month after it was announced to be in the works, Mark Ruffalo was eyed to star in the production, and shortly thereafter, Swinton was confirmed to be cast in an undisclosed leading role.
In an interview with Variety, Swinton has revealed that she is no longer a part of the Parasite television adaptation. However, though Swinton has exited the project, she says that she is still rooting for Bong and the series. Read Swinton’s comment below:
“I don’t think I’ll be a part of it, but I’m very happy to be a cheerleader.”
How Will Swinton’s Exit Affect Parasite’s Development
While the series was announced in 2020, very little has been concretely been revealed about the Parasite show. Joon-ho has famously had technical difficulties with adapting his films into television series, with the TV adaptation of his 2013 film Snowpiercer ordered to pilot in November 2016, but not premiering until May 2020 after undergoing a variety of creative changes during development. Joon-ho is also tied up with other projects at the moment, including an adaptation of Edward Ashton’s novel Mickey7, a film which is currently in production and, coincidentally, stars Ruffalo alongside Robert Pattinson and Toni Collette.
Parasite was a smash-hit film, with many viewers and critics regarding it as one of the best films of the century. But Swinton’s departure from the television adaptation could mean that the series is stagnating while Joon-ho works on other projects, or that there are technical hurdles that need to be overcome behind the scenes before Parasite hits HBO. With Swinton’s exit being the first piece of news from the Parasite television adaptation in almost two years, it seems that it will still be some time before audiences will see the HBO series.