Fox International Productions will co-finance Showbox Mediaplex’s The Murderer, to be directed by Na Hong-jin.

The film is being co-produced by Popcorn Films, Star M Well-Made as well as Showbox and Fox, who will also co-distribute in Korea. It started production on December 16 and a local release is planned for the second half of 2010.

It is the first time that Fox has invested in a Korean production. The company was impressed after reading Na’s treatment for the new film at Cannes in 2008 and his internationally acclaimed debut The Chaser. The film was an immediate success and was picked up for a US remake by Warner Brothers.

“From the moment we saw Chaser, we pursued Na Hong-jin and wanted to be a part of his next film,” said Sanford Panitch, president of Fox International Productions. “That we could reprise the marvelous Chaser cast for this project was equally exciting. Na Hong-jin has a big future.”

Fox reserves the right to participate in a potential English-language remake (and sequel) of The Murderer with Na attached to direct and Popcorn Film to produce. 

The Murderer stars Ha Jung-woo and Kim Yoon-suk, who were both in The Chaser, and is a thriller about a young man who is sent from China to South Korea to pay off a debt by killing someone.

The project won the Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum’s HAF Award in 2009 and pre-sold to French distributor Wild Side.

Although investment figures have not been disclosed, Showbox puts film’s budget in the $7m – $8m range.