[Update: Clive Owen has turned down the Oldboy villain role.]
While debate continues to rage about Spike Lee's upcoming reinterpretation of the Oldboy manga (it's not a remake, if we're being technical), one thing is for sure: the film is shaping up to have an impressive cast.
A step was made in the right direction when it was revealed that Josh Brolin was signing on for the leading role of a man who is held captive in a room for 15 years. That promising bit of casting was made even sweeter by rumors that actors like Christian Bale or Colin Firth could sign-on to play the role of the Machiavellian captor who - upon releasing the captive man - gives his victim just 5 days to discover why he was punished in such unorthodox fashion.
While Firth recently confirmed that he was considering the Oldboy villain role, it now seems that neither he nor Bale are going to join the film; instead, word from Twitch is that actor Clive Owen (Sin City, Children of Men) has been offered the part.
This seems like a reasonably solid rumor, since Owen and Spike Lee have a good working relationship after Owen starred as the villain in Lee's 2006 crime-thriller, Inside Man. It also seems like a smart choice, in that Owen has the range to play anything from smooth, to lordly, to tough, to vulnerable, to downright crazy - as exhibited in films like King Arthur, Closer, Derailed, and Shoot 'Em Up. As the many fans of Korean director Chan-wook Park's 2003 adaptation of Oldboy can (and will) tell you: the villain in this story embodies pretty much all of the aforementioned personality traits. Owen is definitely a versatile actor well-suited for this type of complex role.
Right now, we only have the report from Twitch to go on, but we suspect that this news will either be confirmed or shot down relatively quickly. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Twitch reports that Owen has passed on the role.
Spike Lee's Oldboy is currently in the casting stage, and should go into production soon.