The Unlikely Inspiration Behind the Spooky ‘Parasite’ Movie House
Every week for Screen iconswe take you behind the doors of homes made famous by some of our favorite TV shows and movies.
When Lee Ha Jun set out to design the grand architectural house at the center of the award-winning film, Parasitehe turned to an unlikely source of inspiration.
Lee created the minimalist home from a basic sketch drawn by Bong Joon-Ho, the director of the quadruple Academy Award– award-winning South Korean film.
Lee also used his son’s Lego blocks to help with the layout of the house.
“Finding the right approach to designing the house wasn’t easy because I’m a production designer, not an architect,” Lee told Architecture magazine. Dezeen.
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“I certainly referenced the work of other architects. I didn’t look at specific architectural styles, rather I was inspired by minimalist, modern homes with a great layout of space.”
Parasite was released in 2019 and focused on the class struggles between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim family.
In the film, the Park house was built by a fictional architect named Namgoong Hyeonja. It appears to be a fully constructed residence, but the property is actually a series of sets.
In 2019, Bong said IndieWire all film sets were built on outdoor land with a design based entirely on the filming of a big-screen film.
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Lee uses the long glass wall in the living room of the Park house, which was crucial to the film’s climax, to further explain.
He said the window wall was designed in accordance with the “2.35:1 aspect ratio” to give the illusion that it was a “beautiful photograph on screen”.
“We didn’t film the interior and exterior separately; we just had to create a perfect house… The main front yard, which you see as soon as you enter the house, and the back yard, were built specifically for the movie,” Lee told IndieWire.
The sets for the Park house were built in Jeonju, in the southwest of South Korea.
Lee also avoided recognizable brands give the impression “that you are seeing it for the first time”.
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He was inspired to create Kim’s house after living in a semi-basement property during his college years.
Parasite was made on a budget of $21 million ($15 million) and cost over $370 million ($263 million) at the box office.
It made history in 2020 after becoming the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
Lee was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Production Design. He lost to Barbara Ling and Nancy Haigh for their work on Once upon a time in Hollywood.