It appears as though Samuel L. Jackson is getting in on two polarizing remakes on the horizon: RoboCop, directed by José Padilha (Elite Squad), and Old Boy from director Spike Lee and screenwriter/co-producer Mark Protosevich (The Cell, I Am Legend, Thor).
The working relationship between Lee and Jackson goes back a couple decades, as the latter had minor roles in such classic Lee “joints” as School Daze, Do the Right Thing, and Mo’ Better Blues. Jackson’s most famous dramatic performance in a Lee film is that of Gator Purify in Jungle Fever, where he portrayed Wesley Snipes’ crack addict brother.
Lee’s Old Boy is the latest installment in a longtime Hollywood tradition of American-ized takes on foreign cinema, which has produced such titles as The Magnificent Seven – a westernized take on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai – to Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture-winner The Departed, based on the cult Hong Kong crime-thriller Infernal Affairs. Protosevich is not only drawing inspiration from Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy movie, but also Nobuaki Minegishi’s source comic book.
One of many memorable, gruesome, moments in Park’s Oldboy sees protagonist Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi) extracting information from a guard – who helped keep him imprisoned for 15 years – while yanking his teeth out with a claw hammer. Josh Brolin takes over the lead role in Lee’s retelling, while Jackson plays the man who is brutalized by our anti-hero.
According to Movies Now, Brolin uses a different torture method other than teeth removal on Jackson that’s still “plenty painful.” Add that to the list of promising tweaks to the original story in Lee’s Old Boy, along with a technically-innovative refashioning of the famous single-take hallway battle from Park’s movie – and an ending that producer Roy Lee teases as even darker than the shocking conclusion to its predecessor.
The question of how Lee’s Old Boy could possibly recreate the gut-punch of Park’s Oldboy was raised during an interview with costar Elizabeth Olsen, who was playfully (but firmly) coy about the new conclusion. Still, if there’s one American filmmaker who’s always up for tackling taboo subject matter, it’s Lee (see: the controversy over a scene involving sex and the Bible in his latest production, Red Hook Summer).
Old Boy also features District 9‘s Sharlto Copley as the demented villain who is responsible for Brolin’s 15-20 year imprisonment. There was some mild concern expressed among fans about the racially-insensitive character descriptions in a leaked casting call for the film, but Lee has offered assurances that information is outdated (and thus, the supporting cast will be respectfully diverse).
Filming on Old Boy begins in New Orleans and New York this fall, without an official release date set. We’ll let you know when that changes.
Source: LA Times