The 5 Best Films Starring the Parasite Cast
Last award-season, visionary filmmaker Bong Joon-ho was in the center spotlight as his black comedy thriller Parasite defied all expectations and broke records after records after taking home the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and four Oscar Awards out of six nominations.
Although director Bong very much deserved all the praise for his brilliant and electrifying work on Parasite, it’s still a shame that the cast didn’t received the same amount of recognition for their exceptional individual performances. Yes, they’ve won the Best Ensemble Cast at the 2020 SAG Awards, but it is not merely enough for the top-class talent that they’ve delivered through each of their scenes. It was truly a crime that not a single one of them were nominated for the Best Acting Oscar categories, especially with Park So-dam’s scene-stealing performance as Ki-jung/Jessica, who has been a clear favorite among fans and critics.
That’s why on the 1st Anniversary of the film’s debut at Cannes, we want to highlight some of the best works of the Parasite cast so fans can get to know more about them!
The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008) Starring Song Kang-ho
This list starts off with none other than the great Song Kang-ho himself, who has portrayed the role of the patriarch of the Kim Family, Ki-taek. Song is considered as one of South Korea’s greatest actors of all time, who has been enjoying an incredible and colorful filmography throughout his career which ranges from comedy, horror, action and to drama.
In director Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird, Parasite fans, who are only familiar with Song’s previous works with long-time collaborator Bong Joon-ho, will definitely get to see a different side of him as he delivers one of his most charming and entertaining performances as the thief named Yoo Tae-goo.
Inspired by Sergio Leone’s classic 1966 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, this South Korean film is Kim Jee-won’s clever take on Spaghetti western films. It is set in 1930s Manchuria where it follows the story of three men with different individual goals who unwillingly got involved with each other all because of a treasure map.
Although, it was a very difficult task to choose the best film among his other works, The Good, the Bad, the Weird is definitely a great choice for new Song Kang-ho fans who wants further introduction to the actor’s versatility and immense talent which clearly draws audiences toward the characters his playing.
Other Notable works: Memories of a Murder, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, A Taxi Driver, The Attorney
The Priests (2015) Starring Park So-dam
Next up is 28-year-old Park So-dam, who portrayed the fan-favorite role of Kim Ki-jung/Jessica, the chic and cunning daughter of the Kim Family. In director Jang Jae-hyun’s The Priests, Park was praised for her daunting performance as a possessed high-school student which earned her multiple Best New Actress nods from local award-giving bodies.
Based on the director’s award-winning short-film titled 12th Assistant Deacon, this supernatural thriller film begins when a young girl gets suddenly possessed by an unknown force of evil after she got into a road accident. A Catholic priest along with his new seminarian assistant will conduct one last exorcism to save the girl where they must do all they can and be strong in the face of pure evil.
Although she’s starring alongside two acclaimed senior actors, Park has still managed to steal the spotlight with her strong and earnest portrayal of a type of character that has already been done by so many actresses including Linda Blair in The Exorcist and Jennifer Carpenter in The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Parasite and The Priests only have proven that Park So-dam is definitely the actress who everyone should look out for in the future.
Other Notable work: The Silenced
Train to Busan (2016) Starring Choi Woo-shik
Besides Song Kang-ho, Choi Woo-shik is probably the only cast member in this list who is most accustomed to international recognition. Before he took on the role of the resourceful son of the Kim family, Ki-Woo/Kevin in Parasite, Choi first graced the international scene by starring in Yeon Sang-ho’s blockbuster hit Train to Busan as a high-school baseball player named Yong-guk.
This 2016 film did not only become popular throughout Asia but it also found success in Western countries, who positively received the South Korean zombie film as a heart-wrenching and exhilarating experience. For Parasite fans who haven’t seen the film, the story centers around a workaholic father and his young daughter, who boards an early route express train to Busan. However, unbeknownst to them and the other passengers, the country is slowly starting to descend into madness as a deadly infection spreads like wildfire and unfortunately, their train is no exception from the outbreak.
Even though Choi was in the midst of acting veterans Gong Yoo and Ma Dong-seok, new fans of the Korean-Canadian actor will get to see that Choi’s character was still appreciable and was a commendable supporting performance that he carried through until his very last scene.
Other Notable works: Set Me Free, Time to Hunt
The Servant (2010) Starring Cho Yeo-jeong
Next on the list is Cho Yeo-jeong, who unarguably was one of the stand-out performances in Parasite as she effectively portrayed the role of Choi Yeon-gyo, the naïve and unsuspecting matriarch of the wealthy Park Family. Before starring in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning masterpiece, she first appeared in a few romantic comedy dramas during the early years of her career which resulted to her being typecast for limited roles.
In 2010, Cho was finally given the opportunity to showcase more of her innate acting abilities as she took on the challenging and daring role of Chun-hyang in director Kim Dae-woo’s period erotic drama film The Servant. Based on the famous South Korean folklore titled The Story of Chunhyang, the film begins with the titular character as he recounts the time when he fell in love with his master’s intended wife. Cho’s character gets involved in a love triangle between two men of different social classes where she must decide whether to choose true love or ambition.
Cho’s breakthrough performance in the film had revealed how she’s undoubtedly capable and passionate about her craft by proving to the audience and critics that she’s more than just her beautiful face.
Other Notable Works: The Concubine, The Target
A Hard Day (2014) Starring Lee Sun-kyun
Last but not the least is Lee Sun-kyun, who played the role of the insensitive and straight-forward patriarch of the Park family, Dong-ik in Parasite. In writer-director Kim Seong-hun’s A Hardy Day, Lee skillfully led the black comedy action thriller as a dishonorable detective named Ko Gun-su who finally gets the karma he deserves on one fateful day.
This 2014 film is filled with entertaining and nail-biting sequences which are all told through the eyes of Lee’s pitiful character who begins the film by driving away from his mother’s funeral when he finds out that his squad is under investigation for bribery. While on a dark road, Gun-su suddenly commits murder when he runs over a man. Out of fear of getting further in trouble with the law, he quickly stashed away the dead body inside his trunk. However, things then started to turn for the worse as each of his actions resulted into a bigger dilemma that’s even harder to escape from.
Before Lee had landed a part in Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film, he enjoyed a successful run on a few drama series such as White Tower and Coffee Prince during the early years of his career. However, despite finding fame in television, he decided to hone his acting by appearing in numerous independent and arthouse films like A Hard Day which became a surprise box office hit, thanks to the strong word of mouth from the viewers.
Other Notable Works: Paju, Helpless, All About My Wife