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 …
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.
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