Spike Lee to direct ‘Oldboy’ remake!

The LA Times has announced that Spike Lee (Malcolm XThe Inside Man) has signed on to direct the English language version of Park Chan-Wook’s South Korean 2003 violent thriller, Oldboy which was the second instalment in the The Vengeance Trilogy, preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and followed by Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

The 2003 film starred Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su, the film’s main protagonist who spends 15 years in prison but has no idea why this has happened to him. The original premise came from a Japanese manga series and the original film became a critical hit, earning the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and taking in just under $15 million at the box office worldwide.

The LA Times reports;

Mark Protosevich, who wrote the genre movies Thor and I Am Legend has adapted the screenplay for Mandate Pictures, with Lee coming aboard after multiple attempted reboots fell apart, including one with Steven Spielberg and Will Smith attached.

As Empire Magazine point out;

It’s worth noting that technically, what’s on the cards here isn’t a remake of Park’s film, but a new movie adapted from the original manga by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi. The comics stretch to eight volumes originally released over two years in the 1990s, and don’t bear a great resemblance to the movie we already have. So bemoan the need for an American version all you like, but there is potential for a significantly different and equally valid film here, especially with the right director guiding it.

So what do you think? As a fan of the original film and generally a foreign film lover, I do find myself in that constant argument with people about the need for English speaking versions of foreign films and be for whatever reason they are done. Whether this is because a lot of audiences cannot deal with reading subtitles as well as watching a film, or in the case of Haneke’s Funny Games where he redirected an English speaking version as the film was aimed at a Westernised audience in the first place or as Empire Magazine point out, this could actually be a new interpretation of the original story for a different culture and therefore a different audience? My thoughts are yet to be salved, it may not be till the actual release and comparison that I will be able to make my decision (a little like a Fincher picture due for release to do with a Dragon Tattoo???).

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2 Responses

  1. Delbert Wilkins

    Why does Hollywood have to remake any ‘asian cinema’ movie that has a bit of success?
    OMG, thank goodness the Will Smith project fell through, can you imagine him taking violent revenge on anyone? Maybe he should take revenge on his Willow smith or his son Jayden for their terrible music and movie careers.

  2. Oliver.Coleman

    Haha, that was a brilliant comment :p Very happy to have neither Will Smith nor Steven Spielberg attached to the picture anymore, I don’t think I would have been able to deal with that.
    Although I wonder how this film is going to work, whether it’ll be a direct English speaking adaptation or a new reinterpretation of the original anime? I love ‘Oldboy’ and am generally a fan of foreign films, so cannot bear to see these films not as well received because they are in a different language.


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