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Bong Joon-ho’s Okja Is a Monster Movie, But It’s Also “Essentially a Story About Capitalism”

Okja (2017) Seo-Hyeon Ahn as Mija

Bong Joon-ho, best known for helming Snowpiercer, has another sci-fi movie in the works that also plans to make some significant social commentary. It’s called Okja, and while it may appear on the surface to be an action-packed monster movie, that monster story will serve as a larger metaphor.

That’s not unusual for monster movies, of course–although sometimes a kaiju is just a kaiju. In this case, though, Bong Joon-ho hopes audiences will bear in mind that the movie has more to offer. According to EW, the movie will follow two female leads; the first is Mija (played by Ahn Seo-hyun), a young South Korean girl who is the caretaker/best friend of the titular movie-monster Okja, described by Joon-ho as “a very shy and introverted animal. It’s a unique animal that we’ve not seen before.”

A mysterious company takes Okja away from Mija, and it sounds like the movie will revolve around her fight to get her friend back to safety. Her adventure will lead her to the Financial District in New York City. At this point, we’ll meet another female character named Red (played by Lily Collins), who Joon-ho says is “part of a group of animal rights activists that figure into the story.” Here’s a photo of Red on the run through NYC:

Okja (2017) Lily Collins?

Bong Joon-ho continues,

On Wall Street, it’s the heart of capitalism. On the surface is a story about an animal, but it’s essentially a story about capitalism.

I would love if Okja ended up being the story of two female characters–one from South Korea, one from America–coming together to save this monster from a corporation. Apparently, there are a lot of other stars in this movie (including Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, and Giancarlo Esposito), but if the movie were just about Mija and Red, I’d be on board.

There aren’t any photos of Okja yet, but there is this concept art sketch that features Red, and then also Okja in the final panel:

Okja (2017) Storyboard

So, Okja looks like a big squishy teddy bear? That’s definitely not a monster we’ve seen before! But Wall Street is a monster with whom we are very familiar.

The movie will be out on Netflix this summer, so keep an eye out.

(via /Film, images via EW)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (