One of the many dreaded remakes on the Hollywood slate is of the 2003 Korean masterpiece Oldboy, from acclaimed international director Park Chan-Wook.
Steven Spielberg and Will Smith – two of the biggest players in the directing and acting business respectively - were once linked to the remake. But a complicated series of legal troubles arose last year and DreamWorks apparently walked away from the project which made the possibility of Spielberg directing highly unlikely.
The last (and supposedly final) word we heard on the Oldboy remake was that it was dead in the water. Now it’s reportedly been given the kiss of life.
According to a Tweet from Pajiba, the Oldboy remake is gaining steam once again with three big-name directors being eyed for the director’s chair. Word is that a script by Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Thor) is close to being ready and Mandate Pictures is “high” on what’s been written so far.
That script will be offered to Spielberg once again along with Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and if those two pass, it will be offered to Danny Boyle (127 Hours). There’s no mention of whether or not Smith is still linked to the lead role.
Those are some very talented directors that would certainly garner the remake a lot more respect and credibility than it might get with a lesser known director at the helm. However, no matter the director, this revival of any sort of Oldboy remake will surely incur the wrath of fans of the original once again.
The original Oldboy is one of the greatest films of the last decade and I fear that, just like many Hollywood remakes of great foreign language films, the story will be dumbed down and changed around in order to appeal to as big an audience as possible. Anyone who’s seen the original will know it has some pretty heavy-going stuff, including brutal violence (think “home made dentistry”), the consumption of a live octopus and an inappropriate relationship between father and daughter.
Somehow I don’t think an American remake would include any of those things, do you? Admittedly, previous reports have stated that the remake will actually be a new adaptation of the original comic series and not necessarily of the Korean film but do you really think Hollywood would be making its own version of Oldboy if Park’s original film hadn’t been such a success? I seriously doubt it.
By the looks of things I think we’re all just going to have to accept a world where an American Oldboy remake exists and it appears now that it’ll be sooner rather than later. In accepting the notion of a remake I don’t think anyone will complain if it ends up under the direction of either Spielberg, Vaughn or Boyle (I’d personally choose Boyle of the three as I think he’s most suited). At least that way we know the film will be in capable hands.
On top of an Oldboy remake, we can also dread look forward to remakes of the other two parts of “the Vengeance trilogy,” Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Last we heard, Warner Bros. had picked up the remake rights to Mr. Vengeance back in January, hiring newcomer writer Brian Tucker to pen the script. A-list actress Charlize Theron has previously been attached to star in and produce the Lady Vengeance remake although news has been quiet on that front for a while.
Stay tuned for more on the Oldboy remake as news comes out.