Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-ho is bringing his next film straight to Netflix. Okja, a mysterious monster movie starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, and 13-year-old South Korean star Ahn Seo-hyun, will debut on the service sometime in June.
Erik-Jan de Boe, the Academy Award-winning effects supervisor for Life of Pi, was responsible for the visual effects and the script was co-written by Bong and journalist / documentarist Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare at Goats, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed).
The film centers on Ahn Seo-hyun’s character, a young girl who lives in the woods with her best friend Okja, a genetic science experiment that you catch only a glimpse of in the trailer. It has elephant skin and nice eyes. You also catch a glimpse of Tilda Swinton’s character, who looks to be a mad scientist in the vein of Silicon Valley. She has a platinum blonde bob and lots of Jurassic Park-sounding philosophies. You do not, for some reason, catch a glimpse of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, but here is a photo of him from when the film shot in New York City last summer:
Okja will have a limited theatrical release in the US following its online debut, mimicking the release strategy that Netflix used for its first original film, Beasts of No Nation. This project is much bigger, with a $50 million budget compared to Beasts’ $6 million. Netflix probably doesn’t have to worry too much about traditional box office hauls, as Beasts of No Nation made only $91,000 in ticket sales but still won a SAG Award for Idris Elba, was streamed over three million times, and apparently encouraged the platform to keep dabbling in prestigious film projects.
It’s rumored that Okja may debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May.