American Remake of Park Chan-wook’s ‘Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance’ Underway

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance American Remake of Park Chan wooks Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance Underway

Several years ago, Warner Bros. teamed up with CJ Entertainment and di Bonaventura Pictures in an effort to get a remake of the South Korean thriller Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance off the ground. Since then, no further movements have been made to push the project forward – and, until recently, it looked completely dead in the water.

However, at the 2013 Cannes, the previously-named production companies have brokered a deal with Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment and breathed life into an American version of the film once again.

According to Deadline, winning the rights to remake Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance marks the beginning of a new partnership between Lotus and Silver Reel. Lorenzo di Bonaventura himself will produce, along with Mark Vahradian; the film will be based on the script originally penned for Warner Bros. by Brian Tucker (Broken City). Currently, no other decisions have been made regarding the talent involved, though the search for a director has begun in earnest.

For those unfamiliar with Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, the film bears the distinction of being the first entry in Park Chan-wook’s “Vengeance” trilogy, which continues with the celebrated Oldboy and ends with Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. Concerning itself with the pursuit of revenge, the story follows two men- deaf factory worker Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) and wealthy factory owner Dong-jin (Song Kang-ho) – whose lives intersect when the former kidnaps the latter’s daughter to fund a life-saving kidney transplant for his sister. Before long, the otherwise normal Ryu and Dong-jin find themselves on a violent collision course and, as one might expect, nobody walks away from the conflict unscathed.

The announcement raises a handful of questions and one or two “if” statements. After years of trying to put a re-envisioning of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance in motion, why jump-start the remake now? The simple answer may have something to do with a totally different remake of another Park joint; after failing to get Stephen Spielberg to helm an Oldboy remake, Spike Lee’s version of the film is getting closer and closer to its fall theatrical run (with early reactions allegedly trickling in). Lee’s film is likely to generate solid buzz – making it an appropriate time for Silver Reel and Lotus to hop on the bandwagon and start putting their movie together.

Of course, it’s also reasonable to suggest that waiting to observe the response to Lee’s film in October would have been wiser; a chilly reception for Oldboy could mean bad things for Mr. Vengeance - which may be the less accessible picture of the two (and that’s saying something). But striking while the iron is hot is key in Hollywood, and besides, the faster the studios start assembling the pieces of their remake, the faster they can get it into theaters. If the formula being used for Oldboy - blend an Oscar-level director with a high-profile cast in a controversial American adaptation – turns out to be successful, then expect the involved parties here to follow the same tract with Mr. Vengeance. We’ll see in the coming months who exactly the studios have in mind to star and direct.

At this point, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance is getting remade for American audiences. What’s your take, Screen Ranters? Does this deserve a remake, or should the story be left alone?


We will keep you updated on news about the Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance remake as it’s made available.

Source: Deadline

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  1. No doubt people will complain but if a US remake brings in Western audiences, they may be interested in seeing the original.

    I went into Evil Dead last month and heard some people not much younger than me saying they’d never heard of Evil Dead before but when they were told about the original trilogy, they walked out enjoying the remake and saying they wanted to watch the originals.

  2. The Departed, nuff said

  3. NO just NO! freaking lazy americans, can’t read subtitles.

    they need to remake everything.

    a US remake is not needed to make audiences look for the original. they just have to look up for themselves. it’s all about avoiding the 90% of garbage that US makes every year and start digging cinema from another country and look in the classics. there’s plenty of lists on the internet that can do that.

    or just google “1001 movies you must see before you die” and see the freaking list!

    • But a lot of people don’t do that.

      I’d never heard of Ju-On: The Grudge until I was talked into seeing the US remake and me being the kind of person that was constantly online for various writing purposes decided to look it up on Wikipedia and discovered the originals.

      You can call it “lazy” but most audiences wanna see something, be entertained by it and then walk away until the next thing piques their interest.

      The only US remakes I’ve hated are The Ring and Quarantine, otherwise The Grudge was good, Let Me In was good.

      The whole “remakes shouldn’t happen” thing just always seemed to smack of ignorance and elitism to me. If a foreign language movie is that good, people will discover it either through word of mouth or seeing an English language remake. Why begrudge studios if they want to tell stories to a wider reaching audience?

      It’s also hard to read subtitles and watch what’s going on at the same time. I’m not the only one to think that too, Ricky Gervais said the same during a podcast once and most audiences aren’t used to having to do it because the point of movies is to become engrossed in a great story. A lot of people lose that engrossment if they have to watch a foreign language movie and also read the English subtitles at the same time. It’s like telling someone to play a complicated drum beat while also humming a different tune.

      • its easy for you to say, if you’re an american or english speaking, but what about the rest of the world? they read subtitles even for US movies, they read subtitles for european and asian movies. they have to read subtitles in almost every movie they watch, unless its a movie of their country or like to watch dubbed movies, like in germany, spain or brazil. But still, it’s all about training, if you start watching more foreign movies you’ll adapt your eyes, start reading fast and see what happens on the screen.

        or so you’ll wait for every remake to watch the great movies from world cinema? it’s all about interest.

        and it’s not about elitism. its about not messing with a great film. for example oldboy! foreign movies don’t get to wider audience because hollywood controls everything. they spent 20% of a budget of the film just for marketing purposes. foreign movies can’t compete with that. they can only go with word of mouth, and yet, it’s very dificult.

        even the movies who get oscar nominations for best foreign movie, americans don’t watch them. i bet most of them never saw “amour”, the last winner. i bet hollywood is gonna remake it in some years.

        • @dirty

          I love how foreign movie snobs always like to condescendingly simplify it to not wanting to read subtitles… I am ethnically Chinese and can understand most Cantonese. There are Chinese movies where multiple dialects of Chinese is spoken because different characters are from different parts of China. So within a movie, some people will speak Cantonese while others in Mandarin. I’m also not 100% on even Cantonese, so yes, I need subtitles while watching those movies. But the reason why I don’t mind that as much is because I still do understand most of what is being said, but the more important thing is HOW it’s being said.

          Have you tried to be sarcastic on the internet?? Unless you put some kind of indicator like “/sarcasm” after your sentence or something else to that effect, a lot of times the sarcasm will be lost and people will just think you were being serious. Same thing with being snarky in your response, or maybe when a wife is mad but doesn’t outright say it but you can tell in the way she says it, etc. etc. etc.

          Pretty much when you’re watching a foreign film and you’re reading subtitles, you’re understanding that movie by the translation of the words alone. You pretty much lose 80% of those unspoken messages. Then there’s also the culture gap, where in one culture a phrase is commonly used to mean something that isn’t literal. Again, watching it as a foreign film, you’ll see the literal translation and the meaning of the remark will be completely lost.

          Then there’s the issue of taking your eyes away from the actors so you end up missing a lot of the subtle touches of emotion that actor might have put so much time into perfecting. Or perhaps a word in a sentence is supposed to be said at a specific time for a dramatic effect, but since it’s a subtitle, if you read it faster than it is said you’ll get to that before the dramatic moment. Basically ruining the moment crafted by that movie…

          I’m 100% against a movie company capitalizing on a well-known and established story to make quick cash. But if a movie team has a vision and has the desire to faithfully bring a foreign film to the USA and will put in the time and effort to make a quality film that will strike our audiences like it struck another country’s audience, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. And there’s absolutely no reason to assume that if it’s made in the USA it’ll have to be worse than the foreign counterpart. There are plenty of American remakes that prove that theory wrong.

          But if you personally want to keep being a foreign movie, Cannes film festival, movie snob, then by all means, more power to you. Don’t watch the American versions, don’t watch any American movies for all I care. But stop patronizing anyone who isn’t like yourself by suggesting that it’s simply because we are too stupid or lazy to read. I watch foreign movies too and appreciate them WHEN THEY ARE DESERVING OF IT, but I also appreciate when a movie is faithfully brought to the USA and done correctly…

          • Well said.

        • “ts easy for you to say, if you’re an american or English speaking, but what about the rest of the world? they read subtitles even for US movies, they read subtitles for european and asian movies”

          Let me just say that this is b*******.

          Germany, Italy, Brazil, France, russia, all of latin america, and many other european countries that I did not list do not use Subtitles. What they do is effectively silence the actor and actresses voices in the movie , hire voice actors, and then dub almost every movie that is not spoken in their native tongue.

          So jump off you “Everything Americans do is Stupid” bandwagon and open your eyes. Subtitles do take away from the experience of a movie. There is nothing wrong with the countries dubbing the movies, there nothing wrong with Americans remaking movies as long as they ask first and get the rights. And in effect it does open a lot of people’s eyes to movies they never heard about.

  4. Bulls*** Stop remaking awesome movies! They’re never as good, DUH!

    • The Departed, True Lies, Insomnia, Let Me In, Scent Of A Woman, 12 Monkeys, The Birdcage, The Debt, The Grudge and many more beg to differ.

      • @Dazz

        Haven’t seen all of those movies, but I’d like to also add John Carpenter’s The Thing, and although I personally don’t like this movie, a lot of people do, Scarface…

        • Those too, completely forgot about them.

          Also, The Fly and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. War Of The Worlds too, even if Justin Chatwin is annoying in it.

          • They’re not US remakes of foreign movies though but still…

            We have US TV shows based on European TV shows. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is another US remake I forgot to mention that was just as good as the original.

            • The girl with dragon tattoo wasn’t a remake. It was a movie based on the novel.

      • I know people can argue this all day long, but just about every in-depth analysis I’ve seen comparing these movies to the source material, the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actually was closer to the source material than the Swedish version… I’m sure they both have their good qualities and bad qualities, I’m not saying one is “better” than the other, but it’s pretty far from claiming that the US version was definitely worse just because it wasn’t the first to make a movie out of that story…

        • That’ll be because the Swedish versions were TV movies shown in two parts and had to cut or edit certain things from the books while the US movie lifted the book entirely.

      • Let Me In is nowhere near as good as the original. it is a decent movie, but does not hold anywhere near the weight of emotion and character depth.

  5. Commence the anti-American bitching and moaning!!! Oh wait, I’m late, it’s already started… Sorry guys… *hangs head in shame*

  6. I can’t stand Hollywood.

    • And I can’t stand bandwagoners like you who judge everything before it releases and seal your contempt with the outdated and cliche “I hate hollywood. They can never do right” signature.

  7. Please no. This is one of my favorite foreign movies from one of my favorite directors and it simply will not translate, imo. It’s probably too weird for mainstream America without having to change it all up.

    To the anti-Hollywood comment: don’t watch American movies if they suck so bad. Go ahead and put out an all time top 100 list and try not putting the majority of American films in it. Be gone, scrub.