There’s been an unrelenting amount of animosity expressed towards the Oldboy remake ever since the idea of reworking Park Chan-wook’s 2003 cult classic (itself a Japanese comic book adaptation) was raised.
Mandate Pictures has attempted to combat said negativity by recruiting some undeniably talented people – like controversial director Spike Lee and Oscar-nominated actor Josh Brolin – to work on the new Oldboy adaptation. The project would look all the more appealing if rumored candidate Christian Bale likewise signs on as the villain opposing Brolin’s vengeance-seeking protagonist.
Twitch is reporting that Rooney Mara is currently “being targeted” to play the female lead (renamed Marie) in Lee’s Oldboy adaptation. While this is strictly a rumor for the time being, it ought to be pointed out that Twitch was essentially the first site to report that both Lee and Brolin were serious contenders to sign on for the project – so there’s a decent chance this casting rumor could also come to fruition.
Mara is very much an actress whose career is on the up and up, following her memorable lead performance in the (otherwise lackluster) Nightmare on Elm Street remake – and her scene-stealing turn as Mark Zuckerberg’s girlfriend in director David Fincher’s The Social Network.
However, Mara’s popularity could sky-rocket in the near future, seeing how she looks to deliver a fantastic performance as famous anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander in Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – which arrives in theaters this winter.
Lee’s Oldboy re-telling revolves around an American man (Brolin) who is kidnapped on the day of his daughter’s birth and imprisoned in a hotel for more than twenty years – only to be released by his mysterious captors and told he has four days to determine why he was held captive, before his daughter will be murdered. Mara will (presumably) play the young woman who befriends Brolin’s character, upon his release.
The role of Marie almost certainly calls for someone who can be both emotionally-vulnerable and also strong-willed, which is something Mara has already proven herself quite capable of. Couple that with Brolin as the main character and the possibility of an actor of Bale’s stature playing the destructive, psychologically-tortured villain – and suddenly Lee’s Oldboy really does sound promising.
UPDATE: Variety‘s Justin Kroll has revealed (via Twitter) that Mara ultimately decided to pass on the Oldboy female lead role.
It also ought to be pointed that Oldboy screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, Thor) is reportedly drawing inspiration from both Chan-wook’s 2003 adaptation and the original Oldboy manga – not to mention, he is adding a good chunk of brand-new narrative material to the mix. So, when all is said and done, Lee’s film could feel like more of an original creation – similar to how Martin Scorsese’s The Departed bears little more than a passing resemblance to its inspiration (the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs).
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of the Oldboy remake as more information is released.