Tilda Swinton has dropped out of the cast of Adam McKay’s HBO adaptation of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. The Oscar-winning actress did not give any reason for her decision, telling Variety, “I don’t think I’ll be a part of it, but I’m very happy to be a cheerleader.”
Swinton had been slated to play the female lead in the production, opposite Mark Ruffalo. Parasite, based on Ho’s acclaimed film, will be a six-part limited series on HBO. Swinton, who had earlier worked with the Korean director on Snowpiercer and Okja, had earlier lauded Parasite as being “good for cinema from start to finish.”
After its release in 2019, Parasite won a slew of filmdom’s top awards from the Academy, including statuettes for best picture, director, original screenplay, and international film. It was the first South Korean movie to win an Oscar and the first non-English language film to be honored for best picture. McKay’s HBO spinoff is being conceived as an original series—not a remake—that uses the original film as a launching pad for new scenarios and situations.
Swinton is perhaps best known for portraying White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She also played the role of Madame D in The Grand Budapest Hotel in addition to starring in three recent films: Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
It’s not known at this point who will be selected to replace Swinton. Ruffalo, who will play the male lead, captured global attention with his portrayal of Bruce Banner/Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, beginning with The Avengers in 2012. In 2019, he starred in Dark Waters, which he also co-produced. Ruffalo most recently appeared in the TV series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022).
It’s likely that the HBO series of Parasite won’t be released until 2024. In April of 2021, McKay revealed that the project was still “chugging full speed ahead with an incredible writer’s room.”