Josh Brolin Is Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 6th, 2013 at 2:40 pm,

Feelings towards Spike Lee’s Oldboy project remain quite hostile, despite the recent news that Christian Bale is currently considering the film as his potential followup to The Dark Knight Rises.

Bale is eying the villain role in Lee’s Americanized take on Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook’s cult-classic (itself, an adaptation of a Japanese comic book). The lead role in the picture, however, has now officially been filled.

Deadline has learned that Academy Award-nominee Josh Brolin has signed on to headline Oldboy, which was finally rescued from development limbo when Lee signed on earlier this summer. Brolin will soon be working on Ruben Flesicher’s Gangster Squad; Oldboy looks to be the next project on his to-do list.

Chan-wook’s Oldboy told the macabre tale of Oh Dae-Su (played by Choi Min-sik), a man who is kidnapped on his daughter’s birthday and held prisoner in a single hotel room for fifteen years, not knowing who his captors are or why they are tormenting him. Dae-su spends those years training his body, so that upon his release, he is a killing machine able to track down and take bloody revenge on those who ruined his life. However, the man behind Dae-Su’s imprisonment (Yu Ji-tae) isn’t done tormenting his opponent just yet – and has an even more disturbing fate in mind for his victim.

Here is a preliminary plot synopsis for Lee’s Oldboy (via Coming Soon):

Brolin, who next appears on the big screen in Men in Black III, will play the part of Joe (Dae-su Oh in the original), a man who, on the day his daughter is born, is captured and imprisoned in a hotel room for over two decades (15 years in the original) with no understanding as to why. When he is suddenly released, he’s told that he has just four days to determine the reason for his imprisonment and, if he cannot, his daughter will be killed.

josh brolin no country for old men Josh Brolin Is Spike Lees Oldboy

Josh Brolin in ‘No Country for Old Men’

Brolin is an overall great actor, but if there’s one thing he handles especially well, it’s a dark and gritty role – be it the survival-minded Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men, the corrupt Detective Trupo in American Gangster, or even Jonah Hex in the otherwise terrible… Jonah Hex. So while his involvement won’t be enough to get most people to get behind the Oldboy remake just yet, it certainly won’t hurt.

On that note: Lee’s Oldboy is part remake, but also something more original. Screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Thor) is borrowing elements from Chan-wook’s adaptation for his script, but will also include elements of the original Oldboy comic book, and is said to be adding a healthy chunk (20%) of brand-new narrative material to the mix as well. So while this is a remake, it’s a different kind of remake than, say, last year’s Let Me In or even another recent vampire movie remake, Fright Night.

If Lee manages to also get Bale (or someone of similar caliber) onboard as the villain in Oldboy, then it’ll be all the more reason for even the most furious detractors to reconsider their opinion.

Choi Min sik in Oldboy movie from director Pan Chan wook Josh Brolin Is Spike Lees Oldboy

A scene from Park Chan-wook’s ‘Oldboy’

Lee is one of those autuers who seems to inspire love-hate reactions from moviegoers – usually due to the content, rather than quality, of his films. He’s an undeniably talented artist who’s delivered some truly memorable titles (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, etc.) that touch on hot-rod issues like racism and class warfare in a head-on manner, so it’s no wonder him signing on for an already-controversial project like Oldboy didn’t go over all that well initially.

Oldboy will likely resemble Lee’s 25th Hour – in terms of tone, content, and style – more than any of his other pictures. Considering how well-received that character-driven drama was (even by a good portion of the normally anti-Lee crowd), it’s possible that Oldboy could be one of Lee’s more mainstream successes. We shall see.

We will keep you updated on the status of Oldboy as more information is released.

Source: Deadline

TAGS: oldboy

18 Comments

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  1. Well, I’m not exactly excited to see this remade, but I’m a fan of Brolin so this is pretty good news.

  2. Oldboy = awesome

    Spike Lee = poop

  3. Brolin – awesome.
    Spike – NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!

  4. Since this film is relatively unknown in the main stream this may draw people to the original (quite disturbing) film thus leading to hopefully a new generation of film makers who are willing to take risks ie Spike Lee. Well I hope that’s the case.

  5. Brolin and Bale in a film would be quite awesome. If that comes to fruition, it may change my mind on wanting to see it. But, as per usual, the real decision will come when a trailer arrives.

  6. I read this synopsis on comingsoon.net:

    “Brolin…will play the part of Joe (Dae-su Oh in the original), a man who, on the day his daughter is born, is captured and imprisoned in a hotel room for over two decades (15 years in the original) with no understanding as to why. When he is suddenly released, he’s told that he has just four days to determine the reason for his imprisonment and, if he cannot, his daughter will be killed.”

    So he gets taken on the day of his daughter’s birth instead of her birthday. He’s kept for 20+ years instead of 15. He’s told he has 4 days to figure out why he was taken instead of being released without being given a clue or purpose. And he’s trying to save his daughter’s life rather than…you know…

    I’m usually open-minded about movies until I get more info, but this synopsis inspires images of Brolin frantically running around city streets, shouting intensely into a cell phone. And there’s got to be at least one shot where the camera pulls up on a crane while he’s desperately spinning around trying to figure out what to do next before falling to his knees in despair. If any of these shots are in the trailer, I’ll probably do the same.

  7. I want this movie to be good so bad it hurts. Please don’t mess it up spike

  8. I like the idea of Brolin and Bale but Im not sure about this remake…

  9. Anyone see “Ugly Americans” a couple of weeks ago with the “Oldboy” hallway scene? I had a good laugh. I just want to know what setting they are planning for this, the cast is alright so far but I still am pessimistic.

  10. Yawn…Remake…Yawn

    The original film isnt as great as people say. It’s average.

    • Just Netflixed it….average is a better word then how I would have described it.

  11. Spike lee is a weird choice but an intriguing one. Inside man was a pretty good bank heist movie that didn’t have as much social commentary as his other ones. I’m excited to see what he will do with an action thriller.

  12. Brolin’s a good choice. Bale? I guess so, Im starting to think he’s not such the genius actor he’s made out to be though. I like him enough I guess, he’s just not THAT good to me. Anyway….

    Part of what made the original so great was the mysteriousness of the situation overall, the unique hallway action scene (lol), and the mind blowing gross twist at the end.

    This remake seems a little light in the plot department already, but if there are twists along the way with a scoop of tragedy then maybe it will be ok. I dont put much enthusiasm forward though, knowing how these things keep happening, it will be yet another watered down American remake.

  13. I like the casting choices/potentials so far… I just don’t think Spike is the right guy for this movie… but alas, time will tell I suppose.

  14. Nooooo! No on #remakes! *throw hands up!* I agree with many of you in that Spike just isn’t my fave choice for directing this film. However, just as everyone else, will watch it. On DVD. Rental. Borrowed DVD.

  15. Please no remake. Why mess with perfection?

  16. follow up emails requested

    • Follow up requested

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