Actor Paul Dano was sold on Okja when director Bong Joon-ho told him it was about “a little girl and a giant pig.” But the science-fiction film transformed for him and the cast through the political elements in the story.
“It’s a very multilayered story that deals with politics, environment, the food industry, love, relationships, the fact that humans are all flawed,” Lily Collins told EW and PEOPLE at the Cannes Film Festival in France. “I just really loved that it had so many messages.”
For Giancarlo Esposito, Okja was about “animal rights, being compassionate towards each other as human beings, finding the connection between each other again, finding the connection between what we put in our mouths and what comes out the other end.” He added, “[Bong] gives it to us as it is, he adds spice to it, and he has no judgement and shows us what we need to see to come back to who we really are.”
Okja takes its name from the “Super Pig” of this tale. The creature, revealed in the most recent trailer, was genetically engineered by the Mirando Corporation to help solve this world’s food shortage crisis. Meanwhile, a young girl, living in South Korea where Okja is raised, forms a bond with the animal and embarks on a journey to save it when the company comes to retrieve its property.
“The biggest wars that we’re waging right now as a society unfortunately is against nature and women, surprisingly,” Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead fame told EW, “and the cool part about this film is you’re watching a bookend of nature. You start in the mountains and then you end in the mountains, and you’re having this young girl take you through that journey.”
Collins said “the audience will take out from [the story] what they will,” but the film is coming “at a time when maybe it’s needed to be talked about the most.”
Okja also stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and the young An Seo Hyun. The film, which premiered at Cannes, will begin streaming on Netflix this June 28.