This week sees the eagerly anticipated release of Netfix’s latest original film – Okja, the new film from acclaimed writer/director Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) that debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival to great acclaim despite many reservations about a Netflix film being part of the Palme D’Or shortlist.

Okja tells the story of Mija (Seo-Hyeon Ahn), the decade-long caretaker and companion to a massive animal in South Korea. But when a multi-national corporation takes Okja from Mija and transports her to New York, Mija follows her to save her from the evil company’s clutches.

Lily Collins - OkjaOne of the people who tries to help her is Lily Collins and we sat down with her to chat about the film. There were many lures for the actress to be part of the film, not least the story, and director Joon-Ho, saying:

“I read it and I thought ‘Bong, director, genius, love him’ – so intrigued by a little girl and her pig and getting to play the only female member of the ALF which is such an interesting part of the story as well as it being so multi-cultural being based in the States and South Korea, I thought it was a great opportunity not just for me personally but to be part of a project that says so much being political, environmental, nutritional, about loss of innocence, love and relationships there was so much in there to grasp onto.”

The film is very reminiscent of some of the famous 1980’s adventure films, notably E.T., a similar film about a young child protect their friend from the hands of those who wish to do them harm, and Collins said she definitely felt that when making the film, saying:

“There definitely was an E.T. vibe, very Spielberg-esque or Stranger Things, where you’ve got this fantasy aspect but at the same time, it’s so grounded in reality because of the amazing cast and the characters. Okja is a CGI character but they created her in such a way that she’s a female, she’s a strong woman in there and you really do feel for her so I was definitely brought back to childhood.”

In addition to Okja, Collins’ latest film To The Bone is also set to debut on Netflix next month after the subscription service purchased the film from this year’s Sundance Film Festival – and she says she is delighted that the film, which got some great reviews out of the festival, can be seen by such a large audience, concluding:

“Netflix made Okja with Bong and they purchased To The Bone at Sundance so not only are they taking risks in the projects they go out to create but they’re also taking risks with what they want to distribute and it’s to be commended that they are going on risky topics, things that might be taboo to talk about but they want to spread those stories out into the world because they’re platform is go big which goes into people’s home’s which for something like To The Bone because it’s a subject matter that people will want to converse about. And then for Okja to have such a grand scale but feel like an independent film because they let Bong do his thing – it’s great they have such a big outreach and willing to push boundaries.”

Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), Seo-Hyeon Ahn (The Housemaid), Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead), Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones’ Baby) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals) co-star.

Okja debuts on Netflix on June 28th.