Park Chan Wook’s latest project, The Ax (literal title), is set to begin filming in August, with auditions already underway. The movie is based on Donald Westlake’s novel The Ax, which Park initially aimed to adapt in Hollywood back in 2017 before the production was shelved.

The story was previously adapted into a film in 2005 by Spanish director Costa-Gavras under the title Le couperet (The Ax), and Park intends to remake this version. During a 2019 Busan International Film Festival talk, Park expressed his dedication to the project, calling it “a lifelong project” and stating, “I want to make it one day and make it one of my signature works.”

The Ax explores the descent of a middle-class man who becomes obsessed with his boss, spiraling into madness after losing his job. Failing to secure reemployment, he starts killing off potential competitors in various ways.

Lee Byung Hun and Son Ye Jin have been cast as the lead roles in this dark narrative. Lee Byung Hun reunites with Park Chan Wook after their collaboration on Joint Security Area in 2000, marking their first project together in about 20 years. For Son Ye Jin, this will be her first time working with the acclaimed director. Her return to the screen also draws attention, as it will be her first acting role since marrying fellow actor Hyun Bin, and after focusing on motherhood following the conclusion of JTBC’s drama Thirty-Nine in March 2022.


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