Steven Spielberg & Will Smith ‘Oldboy’ Remake Dead!

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 7th, 2013 at 11:03 am,

I think just about every fan of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 Korean masterpiece, Oldboy, can breathe a lot easier now and for the foreseeable future. Back in July we told you that an Oldboy remake (or new adaptation of the source comics) directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Will Smith was sadly back still in development. A complicated mess of legal turns meant that any original troubles that may have hindered the project had disappeared, and at that time it looked like we’d all have to face a world where an Oldboy remake existed.

Well, not anymore!

According to a “trusted source” at Latino Review (and these guys are usually pretty spot-on when it comes to this sort of stuff), Spielberg and Smith’s Oldboy remake is firmly dead… on the ground… with its tongue cut out (Oldboy fans, you know what I’m talking about). Word is that Mandate and Dreamworks (who both were in the process of securing the rights) couldn’t see eye-to-eye, and the big one, Dreamworks, has walked away from the project.

So no Dreamworks = no Spielberg on this one, and Latino Review reports Smith is out as well. And thus, at least for the time being, there’s no Oldboy remake in the works. I said it when the project worked its way back on track at the beginning of July (and I quote), “I, and just about every other Oldboy fan out there, can only hope another problem arises that hinders and hopefully even cancels this remake project altogether.” About as poignant a statement, especially now, than anything Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi said. Okay, maybe a BIT less poignant icon razz Steven Spielberg & Will Smith Oldboy Remake Dead!

As /Film points out, this isn’t to say that we will NEVER see a U.S. remake (oops, sorry – new adaptation) of Oldboy – perhaps even sooner rather than later – as it may get taken somewhere else to get made. A smaller studio than Dreamworks may be a better fit for the project, as opposed to the powerhouse of Dreamworks and Spielberg. And, of course, there’s Smith, who I personally think is a bad choice for the lead role -  not because I don’t think he’s suited for it, but his star status will draw away from everything else (I’d always be watching Smith and not his character). To further my sentiment from a few months ago – I hope this project stays dead this time.

oldboy1 Steven Spielberg & Will Smith Oldboy Remake Dead!

Are you glad that (at least for now) the U.S. remake of Oldboy is dead? Are you glad Spielberg and Smith won’t be involved? Do you agree they should leave the original (both film and graphic novels) well alone?

This most likely won’t be the last piece of news/info to come out about this, so stay tuned to Screen Rant for developments.

Sources: Latino Review and /Film

TAGS: Oldboy
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  1. never seen the first one… I read the wikipedia article about it awhile back… made me kinda sick.

    I said “thanks, but no thanks.”

  2. Good. Now if only the rest of the remakes based on foreign films will die off as well.

  3. glad its not being remade, i totally loved the original.

  4. Yes! They won’t butcher another masterpiece!

  5. Good news! Leave the original alone, I’m so happy that it’s not going to be remade.

  6. Definitely would have preferred this remake over Let the Right One In. At least this one had Spielberg behind it, and he’s a fairly reliable guy.

    Not to mention the fact that if anybody has actually read the comic, they’d discover that the original movie had about as much to do with it as the Dragonball movie did to its source material. Meaning, if they were really taking a different approach to the source material it could have been very good and very different.

  7. Thank goodness! My girlfriend will breath a sigh of relief at this news. Oh what a mess they would have made…

  8. Best news I’ve heard all year.

  9. Eh I would have seen it.

  10. Thank God for Oldboy staying “as is”. That would be like remaking Alien or True Romance, The Professional, Conan the Barbarian, what is the point of remaking so many movies anymore?

    Hollywood, GROW UP AND TAKE RISKS, we enjoy creative, new films. See also Harry Potter. Chumps.

  11. I would love to see Will Smith and Spielberg collab together on something. I don’t care if it’s this or something else, but I want them to work together.

  12. I still haven’t forgiven Spielberg for Indy4 or Smith for I Am (a Hollywood version of) Legend.

    Glad to hear at least some things are off limits.

    • I am Legend was great! Why blame Smith if you didn’t like it?

  13. Good. Smith and Spielberg have been ruining movies for quite some time, glad to know they arent getting their hands on this one.

  14. Why do you need to adapt a film that is a piece of art?
    How could you possibly, POSSIBLY make anything better than Oldboy?

    Stop trying to capitalize on actually good films and tarnishing that film's reputation with shallow hollywood imitation.

  15. Why do you need to adapt a film that is a piece of art?
    How could you possibly, POSSIBLY make anything better than Oldboy?

    Stop trying to capitalize on actually good films and tarnishing that film's reputation with shallow hollywood imitation.

  16. Why do you need to adapt a film that is a piece of art?
    How could you possibly, POSSIBLY make anything better than Oldboy?

    Stop trying to capitalize on actually good films and tarnishing that film's reputation with shallow hollywood imitation.

  17. Well, this is news to me (four months after you posted). I'm just reading the original manga and was looking forward to a Spielberg/Fresh Prince remake. The Korean film was good, but IMO it was Park Chan-wook's only watchable film and would have benefited from even more restraint. Spielberg films can be a little too polished, but I think Americans could do a great job with the story. Why not open it up to a wider audience? Hollywood actually makes some stories better. Maybe not Ringu, The Eye, The Grudge, nor any Asian movie I can think of, really; but they have made some remakes that were better than the originals. As long as it's not some screwup set to direct, produce, or star–why not get excited about the remake?

  18. This is great news. I really can’t think of any good remakes at the moment. on the other hand, I can think of a lot of remakes that are waste or totally unnecessary. and often they harm the original. hollywood seems like a lazy machine that can only adapt books, comics or do remakes and sequels. what the hell happened to creative and new scripts? taking a little bit of risks ? it’s way too safe and flat these days. sure good stuff is still being made ( worldwide ), but you have to wade through a huge load of garbage in American films especially. And I dig American cinema a lot. Most of my favourite films are American productions

    thank the film lords this movie is not gonna be made. will smith + spielberg doing oldboy = interesting ? forget about that.they are both talented and did good stuff, but they would never remake the squid scene with a real squid


    ( perhaps that’s the real reason for cancelling the movie ? smith didn’t want to eat a live squid )


    everybody knows spielberg isn’t doing anymore groundbreaking stuff these days, at least not in the last movies he did ( and I still love him. he made a load of awesome films I adore : duel, jaws, ET, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones – except nr 4 -,empire of the sun,hook,jurassic park, saving private ryan, minority report and masterpiece schindler’s list ) Nothing wrong with that, but Oldboy is, like stated before here, a masterpiece. A personal, very powerful, original and emotional movie. There is no way you could make this better ( unless perhaps you would take such a COMPLETELY different and unique/original take on it. but we know hollywood doesn’t seem to be capable of that ) and I don’t really like the concept of remakes anyway (unless it’s about updating an outdated movie that was made 50 years ago for example). do some effort if you don’t like watching a movie in another language or with people from different cultures.

  19. Oldboy is the anti-thesis of Hollywood. It’s structured the same as your typical run-of-the-mill thriller (the premise and pacing reminded me a lot of Jason Bourne, or the like) but the amazing thing about Oldboy was its willingness to go where it wanted.

    Hollywood is always worried about its target audience (i.e. “girls like romance, guys like violence, and everybody wants the good guy to kick ass”), so the movies always fit into these narrow constraints. Spielberg is a professional: he gives the people what they want, takes their money, and everybody’s happy. I guarantee he’d never try to cross the boundaries of what’s acceptable. And that’s the essence of the whole film.

  20. I don’t know if I’m relieved. In my opinion a remake doesn’t hold the power to cheapen the original experience of the movie, and since I’ve already seen Oldboy I don’t have to worry about having the plot spoiled before I’ve seen the original masterpiece.

    Two good things could come out of a remake. The first is that more people are exposed to Oldboy, meaning there would probably be a lot more people seeking out the original, which is a fantastic movie as far as I’m concerned and deserves all the attention it can get.

    The second is that a manga adaptation (Which is what Spielburg wanted to do.) might be good for all we know. At the very least, I would have gone to see it just for interest sake. Even if it bombed, I’d love to see all the spectacular ways they screwed it up.

  21. Thank god!