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.