Another day, another remake. This time it’s the Korean film Hello Ghost that’s been targeted for an American update. The original film tells the story of a young man whose botched suicide attempt yields an unexpected side effect – the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.
Deadline reports that Next Entertainment World, the production company responsible for the original Hello Ghost, has partnered with Chris Columbus for the remake. Columbus has made a name for himself with popular family fare like Home Alone, the first two Harry Potter movies, and Mrs. Doubtfire. He also wrote two of the most endearing films from my childhood – Gremlins and The Goonies.
Lately, Columbus’ track record hasn’t been so stellar. 2009’s I Love You, Beth Cooper was a critical and commercial disappointment, and last year’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief didn’t fare much better. I’ve always remained hopeful that Columbus still has another great film in him, but only time will tell if Hello Ghost proves to be a return to form.
Here’s a more detailed synopsis of the original film:
A depressed and lonely man, Sang-Man, starts seeing ghosts after attempting suicide many times. An orphan and a loner, who has been alone all his… A depressed and lonely man, Sang-Man, starts seeing ghosts after attempting suicide many times. An orphan and a loner, who has been alone all his life, Sang-Man suddenly finds his world turned upside down when he starts seeing four ghosts: a chain smoking cab driver, an alcoholic/pervert grandfather, a constantly crying woman and young kid with an insatiable sweet tooth.
Learning from a psychic that he cannot get rid of these spirits until he fulfills their last desires, Sang-Man allows them to possess his body. While carrying out their individual wishes, Sang- Man discovers the pleasure of daily life and forgets about his own loneliness and depression.
Hello Ghost was a box office hit in Korea, but for us Americans this premise might trigger a little bit of déjà vu. As many others have already noted, the plot bears a remarkable resemblance to the 1993 Robert Downey Jr. film Heart and Souls. Nevertheless, Columbus is evidently an admirer of Korean cinema and couldn’t be more excited about developing his own take on Hello Ghost:
“After watching Hello Ghost I was immediately struck by the film’s ability to mix comedy, drama and complex emotional themes … Its strong universal storyline translates to any culture, and I’m looking forward to bringing a version of this wonderful story to the English-speaking audience.”
And Said Kyungik Jang, the Vice President of New Entertainment World, is convinced that Columbus is the right man for the job:
“We have gladly accepted his offer knowing that he is the guru of family comedy films, and someone who has a solid fan base throughout all ages.”
Columbus will produce Hello Ghost through his production company 1492 alongside partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. At this point, it sounds likely that he’ll direct the film as well.
The premise of Hello Ghost is just odd enough to be intriguing, but Columbus hasn’t made a movie that I’ve truly enjoyed in over a decade. Perhaps I’d be better off just tracking down the original?