Spike Lee In Talks To Helm ‘Oldboy’ Remake [Update]

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:47 pm,

[Update: Spike Lee has been confirmed as the director of the Oldboy remake. Click Link for Details.]

No stranger to controversy or handling provocative subject matter, Spike Lee may have found his next directorial effort in the form of Mandate’s Oldboy remake.

This new comes just within a week of Lee’s discussion with THR about how the Oscar-nominated filmmaker has been unable to get a directing project going for some three years now, ever since his war drama Miracle at St. Anna was a critical and financial dud back in 2008.

Rumblings about a remake of Korean director Park Chan-wook 2003 Oldboy movie (which was based on the Japanese comic book by Nobuaki Minegishi) has been ongoing for years now. Just last year, Oscar-winners like Steven Spielberg and Danny Boyle were shortlisted to helm the project.

According to Twitch, Lee is now in talks to oversee the Oldboy remake, working from a script penned by I Am Legend and Thor scriber Mark Protosevich. Will Smith was reportedly eying the film as a starring vehicle back in the day, but there’s no word yet on whether or not he would still be interested.

For those not familiar with Chan-wook’s Oldboy adaptation: That film revolves around one Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-sik), a man who is held prisoner in a hotel room for 15 years without any explanation from his captors. When he is finally released, Dae-Su sets out on a bloody quest for vengeance, befriending and romancing a young sushi chief (Kang Hye-jeong)¬†along the way. However, it turns out that Dae-Su’s mysterious enemy (Yu Ji-tae) has a far more disturbing fate in mind for his victim than merely death.

Choi Min sik in Oldboy movie from director Pan Chan wook Spike Lee In Talks To Helm Oldboy Remake [Update]

An excellent example of the “extreme” style of contemporary Korean cinema, Oldboy was critically-acclaimed for its undaunted examination of the dark side of human nature and won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, when Quentin Tarantino served as the President of the festival’s jury. It has since become a cult-classic, standing out as arguably the most admired and well-known entry in Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy.

Needless to say, the idea of a Hollywood remake has never been all that popular with Oldboy fans; the gruesome nature of the subject matter and storyline alone make it near impossible to envision a studio-sanctioned remake being anything but a heavily-diluted (re: dramatically weaker) variation on Chan-wook’s adaptation.

Lee’s potential involvement with the Oldboy remake is bound to pique the interest of fans, simply because (as mentioned before) he’s one of those directors whose work has often polarized audiences – in no small part due to his filmmaking style and topics of choice (racism, separation of classes, institutionalized corruption, etc.). So, in that sense, he could be the perfect choice to try and recapture the power of Chan-wook’s original film, for a relatively more mainstream American audience.

We’ll keep you posted on the status of the Oldboy remake as more information is released.


Source: Twitch

TAGS: Oldboy
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  1. O, gods, please no.

    • Somethings need to be left alone. Hollywood does this all the time, they justify this nonsense by saying it will be more true to the source material. I have yet to see a remake where this theory works. Until Hollywood can treat the audience like adults, like they do in foreign films stay away from films such as this…..!

      • “The Departed” is my favorite film ever…

  2. It’s Park Chan Wook

    • Sorry about that. It’s been fixed. :-)

  3. Where did originality go? Make new stuff. Stop remaking old stuff.

  4. I just hope they don’t make it more “accessible” to western audiences like they did with Let Me In

    • I understand (and agree with) your overall point, but I quite enjoyed “Let Me In”. I think BOTH of those films have their strong points and loved both versions of the the “Let the Right One In” sttory.

      • Sweden is in the west!
        I’m not a fan of remakes myself but I don’t understand why people are that bothered, if you don’t like the remake the original will still be there. Maybe the remake might lead to a lot of people discovering the original… that would always be a good thing.


  6. go for it spike ruin a masterpiece cuz u want it in english
    i hate those remakemf that think they can do better come up with ur own idea for once and leave the cllasics alone

  7. Why do we have remakes? Because we have too many studio’s, too many actors, too many producers, blah blah blah, and they all want a piece of the pie. That is America for you. Exploit everything to the Nth degree. As long as there is an America there will be tons of bad movies…which include bad remakes. I agree it sucks but what can anyone do but grin and bear it. I would love to see fewer movies released with better acting and better stories. Wishfull thinking I guess.

  8. Spike lee make up your own s**t! Leave this movie alone.

  9. Booo! I don’t want this racist clown anywhere near Oldboy

  10. Any remake should just be labeled “This is our version.” It’s not a remake when the story is gonna be completely different. There’s absolutely no way you can keep the main elements of this story for the American audience. Mainstream anyway. I could name the elements, but I’m sure people here know what I’m talking about and exactly why this movie will be less of a remake and more of an “interpretation”. A lesser element, but no less awesome, is the live eating. I’ll keep it at that. Don’t want to spoil it. How are the new people involved gonna match that? Or even top it? And the twists at the end and during the movie (which blew my mind). What are they gonna do about that? How can they come up with a more sanitized element that’s still shocking? They can’t. Nope. No way. Which is why if anything must be done, just remake the movie with English speaking Asians using American locales. Or whatever, use white actors. It can be done. This isn’t one of those movies that race matters. I think it could be done with white actors if the story is left alone. And the best elements are kept. If not, then there will be a loud explosion that no one will hear because no one will be around.
    Spike Lee? Kinda meh about him. Probably use black actors if he could. Won’t make any difference, though if set in an urban environment, the remake could work like that. Dark, gritty, dirty, and a bit wild. I could see Oldboy as a negro man. Dirty, unkempt afro. A full beard, untrimmed. Homeschooled fighting. The works. It could work. But what black actor could pull it off? Please. Please, don’t let it be Will Smith. He’s not mean enough or dangerous enough. Denzel W.? Too well known. A relative unknown would work best, but probably won’t happen. Denzel does have the chops to do it though. Would choose him over Will. But anyway. That’s my 2 cents.
    Consider myself, paid.

  11. I am horrified they want to do a remake of this amazing film. There’s no way an American studio is going to keep the key twist in the film the same. Without that shocking twist the entire plot of the film would collapse. Even if by some chance they did keep the twist in the American remake, I’m almost sure they’d change the controversial “happy” or “unhappy” ending, depending on your view from the Korean film. I absolutely loved this movie and the twist had me picking my jaw up off the floor. People should see the original and ignore the remake.

  12. Have yet to see this, but after seeing “I Saw The Devil” and hearing how shocking and twisted this is I cant see how hollywood could possibly remake this without softening the story and violence.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the reason “I Saw The Devil” didn’t see a release in theaters (Besides Art Houses) is because they wouldn’t be able to put a rating on it other than NC-17 and the director/producers probably didnt want an edited version, right?

    I will say that if there is a studio that would be down with staying true to the original story, and perhaps make a version on par with the original. I would nominate Focus Features.

  13. NO. Leave a great film alone and stop making films for the unintelligent few who cannot be bothered to read subtitles.

  14. Is this better then “Ichi The Killer”? I have been slacking on watching good Asian movies, I have been watching a lot of French films lately. The last one I saw was “Dumplings”.

    • Watch Man from Nowhere. It’s another amazing Korean action film.

      • Added it to my Queue, thanks!

    • I was really looking forward to Old Boy and I was actually disappointed in it, meaning I didn’t like it. Don’t know what it was cause I like these kinds of films.

      • Just watched it and I really liked it. The hallway fight scene was pretty sweet, disturbing ending though. I can see why Hollywood remaking this would end badly with a diluted product.