HBO eyeing Mark Ruffalo to star in Parasite TV series

When I first heard that HBO was planning to make a TV show based on Parasite — Bong Joon-ho’s thriller about a poor family that insinuates itself into the orbit of a rich one, with disastrous results — it sounded like an odd fit. Parasite was definitely a good movie, darkly funny with a lot to say about class and income equality, but the film seemed pretty complete by itself. I guess HBO could remake the South Korean movie with American actors, but was there really a need for that? Subtitles aren’t that bad.

But THEN Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars, the first non-English film in history to do so, and suddenly HBO’s investment seemed like a much better idea. Plus, director Bong Joon-ho himself is involved, teaming with director Adam McKay, a guy who’s made his share of movies and TV shows about class and money, like The Big Short and HBO’s own Succession. Okay, HBO, you have my attention.

The series is still a while off, but the latest rumor is that HBO is eyeing Mark Ruffalo to be in it. This comes from Collider, which cites “multiple sources.” Ruffalo, of course, is best known for playing the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; beyond that, he’s a talented guy with Oscar-nominated performances in movies like The Kids Are All Right and Spotlight. Also, he’s already in business with HBO for the limited series I Know This Much Is True, where he plays twin brothers, so it wouldn’t be a stretch for HBO to stop by the set one day and ask him if he’d be up for an English-language Parasite remake.

As for who he’d play, we don’t know. The most obvious role for him is as the weather-beaten, quietly seething patriarch of the poor family at the center of the story, although I’m sure he could play the father of the rich family, too, secure in his wealth and casually thoughtless about how he treats people outside of his class.

And that’s all assuming that the Parasite show will follow the same basic plot as the movie, which I’m guessing it will, based on comments from Bong Joon-ho. “I had all these key ideas accumulated from when I started writing the script,” the director told TheWrap a couple weeks back. “I just couldn’t include all those ideas in the two-hour running time of the film, so they’re all stored in my iPad and my goal with this limited series is to create a six-hour-long film.”

He also shared some ideas on how he might flesh out plot points from the original movie, but I won’t quote that here in case you haven’t seen it; this is definitely the kind of movie where it pays to go in blind. But the point is that if he’s thinking of ways to dive deeper into what happened in the original story, we’re probably getting the same story again, just as “a six-hour-long film.” If that means six episodes, I can see that working.

Anyway, what did HBO have to say about Ruffalo’s involvement in this? “The HBO limited series inspired by Parasite is in the early stages of development, and to speculate on any characters or casting is wildly premature.” Okay, but I didn’t hear a no…

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h/t The A.V. Club