It was announced today that an English language remake of Vietnam’s highest grossing horror film of all time “The Housemaid” has been greenlit by CJ Entertainment, Korea’s leading entertainment conglomerate, and Academy Award® winner Geoffrey Fletcher will write the adapted screenplay.
Fletcher won an Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Precious” in 2010, becoming the first African American to receive an Academy Award® for writing. He also wrote the upcoming “Trial By Fire”, based on The New Yorker article by David Grann, with Ed Zwick directing and Laura Dern and Jack O’Connell starring.
“The Housemaid” is a Vietnamese film, written and directed by Derek Nguyen, produced by Timothy Linh Bui, which CJ Entertainment financed and produced. Released in 2016, the film was a massive hit with a story that explores racial and social themes through a period/romance/horror film. The remake will stay true to this concept, taking place in the deep South during the Reconstruction Era.
CJ Entertainment is financing, developing and producing the new English language remake. Producers are Don Handfield (The Founder), through his Motor production banner, Timothy Linh Bui (producer of the original Vietnamese “Housemaid”) via his Happy Canvas production label, CJ Entertainment’s Tae Sung Jeong and Francis Chung. CJ Entertainment’s Mike Im is executive producing along with Derek Nguyen.
Fred Lee, CJ Entertainment’s Los Angeles-based Director of Development, and Jihyun Ok, CJ’s Seoul-based Director of Development, will oversee development of the project.
Geoffrey Fletcher said: “The opportunity to reimagine this compelling story in the context of American history is incredibly exciting. Collaborating with CJ Entertainment and Motor, an international team of talents, is equally thrilling and this unique project speaks to the creative power of diverse voices. Derek Nguyen’s cinematic fable, produced by Timothy Bui, is perfect for Reconstruction Era reinvention, especially today.”
Francis Chung, VP of Global Co-Productions and Head of U.S. Production at CJ Entertainment, said: “One of the main reasons why horror films are performing so well is the polished writing and elevated level of storytelling. Knowing the bar has been set so much higher in this category, we recognize the necessity of allowing an extremely gifted writer like Geoffrey Fletcher take the reins to craft a compelling new version of the story. We’re beyond excited to put the story in Geoffrey’s hands and equally excited to be partnering with Don and Tim to bring this new version to a global audience.”
“Don Handfield said: “When Tim Bui showed me The Housemaid that he shot in Vietnam, it had all the elements of a transcendent horror film: a thrilling story, a mind-blowing twist, and most importantly, a deeper layer of allegory and metaphor that felt so relevant in today’s socio-political climate. I knew it would require a special writer for the US adaptation, and had been wanting to work with my ping pong adversary Geoffrey Fletcher for years. He was the only writer we approached and he responded immediately. Thrilled to be making this film with him, Timothy, and the incredible team at CJ”
Timothy Linh Bui said: “When Derek and I first developed the project for Vietnam, we both felt it naturally lent itself to an adaptation in the US due to similar themes of oppression and resistance that led to both the French Indochina War and the American Civil War. I am inspired that Geoffrey shares in this same vision and I am thrilled to partner with Don and the CJ team on this film.”
Writer of the original film Derek Nguyen said: “When writing the original script for The Housemaid, I became aware of the many parallels between the lives of Vietnamese indentured servants during the French colonial period and African American slaves in the American South. It’s an honor to have a celebrated screenwriter such as Geoffrey Fletcher shed light on the horrors of brutal injustice in a new version that will not only entertain but provoke thought.”
CJ has become aggressive in adapting some of its most popular films for the global marketplace. “The Housemaid” now joins recently announced projects like “The Vanished” and “Hide and Seek” on CJ’s growing slate of English language film adaptions, reinforcing the company’s commitment to building out a strong industry leadership position in the feature production space.
Geoffrey Fletcher is represented by CAA. Derek Nguyen is represented by Andre Des Rochers at Gray Krauss Sandler Des Rochers LLP and Jeffry Melnick at Eighth Square Entertainment