I KNOW, I KNOW. Maybe you’re here because you wanna take a peek at my casting choices so you could shade this post (haha). I know you are already on a BOYCOTT mode: “NO WAY Philippines is gonna do a remake!”, “I hate this idea!”, or “Nothing can beat the Korean version!” I know that any adaptation would be a disrespect to the original material! Probably, it would have to take a decade or two until we get a legit satisfying remade version.
Setting the bar higher for Foreign Language movies making it to Hollywood, Parasite has bagged a total of 26 awards as of this writing. That includes copping a Palme d’Or award (the highest prize at the Cannes Film Festival), a SAG award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award for the Best Foreign Language category. Phenomenal, right?
HBO Limited Series
There’s news that HBO is in the process of making a limited series with the same award-winning director, Bong Jon-hoo alongside Adam McKay, director of award-winning HBO drama, Successor. “When I think of a limited series, I really think of it as an expanded film. So my goal is to create a high quality and expanded version of Parasite,” said Joon-ho in an interview with Variety. But there’s no harm in having some fun by imagining our very own local actors take on the cast, right?
The Pinoy Cast
With a considerate amount of observation and a mindset of “let’s pretend that this is actually gonna happen”, we’ve devoted a lot of thought into who the characters should be played by in Pinoy version. So we began putting our heads together to cast our version of the genius, award-winning dark comedy thriller film from Korea.
Carmina Villaroel as Irma
(Equivalent to Cho Yeo-Jeong as Yeon-gyo, mother of the Park family)
We trust that Carmina Villaroel can maintain a command of attention on-screen while playing a neutral character who is reactive to the situations in the story. Acting-wise, she can own the whole frame with her ability to translate her emotions through her facial expressions, which we believe Cho Yeo-Jeong has performed amazingly, too. Hence, her versatility to play a kind-hearted mother with that alta-esque aesthetic that’s not intimidating or too prima-donna would also be fitting.
Other considerations: Beauty Gonzales, Carla Abellana
Joshua Garcia as Oliver
(Equivalent to Choi Woo-shik as Kim Ki-woo, son of the Kim family)
Among the rising young male actors of this generation, we think Joshua Garcia suits the character of Ki-woo best. Whether it be as a hopeless romantic university student or as hardworking palengke vendor, Garcia can definitely deliver. We can imagine him holding his own while doing scenes with the rest of the powerhouse cast as he himself is one of today’s brightest actors.
Other considerations: Khalil Ramos, McCoy De Leon
Miles Ocampo as Olga
(Equivalent to Park So-dam as Kim Ki-jeong, daughter of the Kim family)
We’re looking for that actress who can portray toughness and cleverness but shouldn’t take away much of the attention from the other characters. So, we’ve chosen a familiar face in the local primetime scene who we saw grow up on screen with grace and sass, and that’s Miles Ocampo. We could imagine her as the Filipina version of the madiskarte and carefree daughter of Mr.Kim, Ki-jeong. I bet she’ll also break our hearts if we see her life end tragically. I just wonder how it would look like seeing her accidentally nibbling on dog treats in one of the sequences… and that toilet scene.
Other considerations: Kim Chiu, Devon Seron
Diether Ocampo as Ryan
(Equivalent to Lee Sun-kyun as Park Dong-ik, father of the Park family)
It would be great to see Diether Ocampo make a comeback through this phenomenal franchise, as the husband of his former ka-loveteam, Carmina Villaroel. If you can recall, the 2 teamed up once in an afternoon soap opera in the early 2000s. I know you guys are thinking, “what about that scene when Park Da-song spent the night at the garden in his teepee?” Well, one of my friends requested to have Ocampo be cast as Mr.Park, just ‘cause he has the sex appeal and that he’d look good in business attire. Well, here’s he for your imagination!
Other considerations: Richard Yap, Ian Veneracion
Andrea Brillantes as Charee
(Equivalent to Jeong Ji-so as Park Da-hye, daughter of the Park family)
Jeong Ji-so’s portrayal of Da-hye was in between the complexity of innocence and flirtatiousness. She clearly was just a teenager with how she easily got swung by the charm of her personal English tutor. We believe Andrea Brilliantes is indeed a brilliant option for this one as we want to highlight a side of her that’s more tantalizing with her doe-eyed, youthful, innocent charm.
Other considerations: Janella Salvador, Kira Balinger
Rob Wachtel as Henry
(Equivalent to Jung Hyeon-jun as Park Da-song, son of the Park family)
You’ve probably seen Rob Wachtel in TV commercials lately. We think this bright-smiled little guy would be great to play Da-song, running around with his toy bow and arrow.
Other considerations: Raikko Mateo, Sandro Sotto
Epy Quizon as Kiko
We all know that Epi Quizon can deliver roles for almost everything—big screen, small screen, indie, mainstream, drama, action, comedy, fantasy, and even epic historical genres. To see him surprise us playing the role of Park Myung-hoon as Geun-sae would be another milestone for him. We can imagine him doing a monologue about his gratitude to Mr.Park, that through their home, he has found shelter, and eventually wreaking havoc by the end of the movie. Insane!
Other considerations: Mon Confiado, Nonie Buencamino
Manilyn Reynes as Racquel
(Equivalent to Chang Hyae-jin as Chung-sook, mother of the Kim family)
Manilyn Reynes could be too star-powered for the role of Mrs.Kim but we could imagine her balancing the seriousness of the whole tone with her loud, caring, bubbly, and fierce personality, just like the typical Filipina mother. In the movie, you’ll notice that by the time Chung-sook scored a job at the Park residence, she also got a makeover (a haircut). I think that side of her character matches Reynes perfectly. Although it would also break our hearts to see her grieve by the end of the movie.
Other Considerations: Janice De Belen, Candy Pangilinan
Jaclyn Jose as Norma
(Equivalent to Lee Jung-eun as Gook Moon-gwang, the housekeeper)
Tell me that this is a great choice for the part! Watching the movie, you will observe that the writing didn’t draw much attention to housekeeper Moon-gwang, making it seem like she’s just gonna be a background character the whole time. Maybe you’re thinking, “then why choose an award-winning actress to play her character?” That’s because this character deserves to be represented by someone who can command the spotlight towards her, with whatever social status she portrays on screen—that’s Jaclyn Jose, our very own Cannes Festival Best Actress awardee. From the time that her character seized the moment at one point in the movie, everything else went downhill! That’s just creepy and menacing.
Other considerations: Sylvia Sanchez, Eula Valdez
John Arcilla as Pablo
(Equivalent to Song Kang-ho as Kim Ki-taek, father of the Kim family)
Last but not the least, we have Sir John Arcilla to take on the character (and the pressure) of the father of the Kim family, Ki-taek. Since Arcilla has reached a turning point in his career playing the titular character in “General Luna”, this veteran actor has been sought after for both movie and television. Before he earned a Best Actor nomination for an MMFF movie in 2015, he used to be seen playing as the usual “tatay” roles in primetime TV shows. Yes, for Parasite, Sir John could be playing another dad figure, but this time it’s obviously more layered than ever before.
Other Considerations: Joel Torre, Ricky Davao
By the way, in case you didn’t notice, the initials of the names of the upperclass family spelled R-I-C-H (Ryan, Irma, Charee, Henry) and then P-O-O-R (Pablo, Oliver, Olga, Racquel) for the lowerclass family.
That’s it! I hope you guys had fun reading this article and imagining a superficial Filipino adaptation of a ground-breaking master-piece, Parasite!
This article is contributed by Ronnie Yatco.
Ronnie is a portrait and fashion editorial photographer who loves coffee and dogs. Check out his Instagram-based magazine, Raging Youth.