Anyone who has seen even a single part of Park Chan-Wook’s vengeance trilogy (Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance) would likely be quick to argue that Park deserves to be far better known outside of the cinéaste circles that paid attention when Korean cinema was really on fire a few years ago. That could come to pass now that Universal and Focus Features are co-producing his latest film, which is already in production.

Thirst is “about a priest who participates in a medical experiment to find a cure for a deadly disease with traumatic repercussions” (that is, he becomes a vampire — shades of Claire Denis as Trouble Every Day resurfaces once more) and stars Mr. Vengeance‘s Song Kang-ho and Shin Ha-kyun, with Kim Ok-bi as the female lead. The Korean press have had a great time suggesting that her role is particularly racy, which given the content of Park’s previous films could mean just about anything.

This is actually a significant deal, and a grand gesture of confidence in Park. I’d have expected this to happen after Lady Vengeance, but after the shrug that greeted I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK? Interesting and wonderful news; now we can spend a couple months speculating about whether this is really breakout material for the guy. If nothing else, I can’t wait to see what he gets funded afterward. And, of course, Focus is quite likely to get this into a theatre near you, marking perhaps the first time that a lot of Park’s fans will get to see one of his films without a DVD player humming nearby.