CONFIRMED: Spike Lee To Direct OLDBOY Remake

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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CONFIRMED: Spike Lee To Direct OLDBOY Remake
[Update: Variety has now confirmed that Spike Lee has signed to direct a Hollywood version of Oldboy. ScreenAnarchy broke the news that Lee was in talks to do so last week.]

As originally published July 5th
: ScreenAnarchy has learned that Spike Lee is currently in talks to direct the long-rumored Hollywood remake of Park Chan-Wook´s Oldboy.

Word of a US remake of the Park Chan-Wook revenge classic first surfaced in 2008 with word that both Steven Spielberg (in some capacity) and Will Smith were eyeing the project and now it appears to finally be moving ahead.

The film is set up at Mandate with Doug Davison and Roy Lee producing and Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) writing the script.

Lee is a surprising but intriguing prospect to direct this material and a damn sight more interesting than most of the director´s whose names have been floated as possibilities over the years. As for Smith, there´s no word yet if he is still involved but the man did just refuse the lead role of Tarantino´s Django Unchained, which would suggest he´s got something else in the works.
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Spike LeeGaron TsuchiyaNobuaki MinegishiMark ProtosevichJosh BrolinElizabeth OlsenSharlto CopleySamuel L. JacksonActionDramaMystery

More about Oldboy (2013)

jamesemanuelshapiroJuly 6, 2011 12:14 AM

dude, thats quite a vacation you're having! nice scoop!

jwalk415July 6, 2011 12:35 AM

You just LOVE being the bearer of bad news, don't ya, Todd? It's almost as if you will these abominations to happen.

thoughtatworkJuly 6, 2011 12:46 AM


huffy08July 6, 2011 1:36 AM

If you're going to remake something like Oldboy REALLY remake it. I don't want a young Zach Snyder/Matt Reeves-style director who's so obsessed with the original that he's afraid of changing anything. I want an arrogant old auteur who's going to make the movie he wants to make, fuck anyone else. Not sure if Spike is that guy anymore, and Protosevich's involvement doesn't suggest an artistically daring piece of work. Still, unlike some I don't see Oldboy as the pinnacle of 21st Century movie-making (it wasn't even the best S. Korean film from that year) so I'm not entirely opposed to a more conventional take on the story, especially since the original manga was a more straightforward pulp revenge story.

CuttermaranJuly 6, 2011 3:47 AM

IMO Hollywodd can't top the craziness and surreality of Old Boy, so what will come out is another straight forward revenge flick. Actually you won't notice it's a remake of Old Boy, because in it's core the story is not really original. Unless you find an american director as visionary as Park Chan Wook with aspirations for strong drama...I like Spike Lees work very much, but I would favour Lars Von Trier for this project.

Ard VijnJuly 6, 2011 4:45 AM

Which S-Korean film was better than "Oldboy" in your opinion? Not saying you're wrong but I'm mighty curious. It was a hell of a good time for Korean cinema, that's for sure!

Kurt HalfyardJuly 6, 2011 11:49 AM

I think Lee is a great choice (look what he did with straight up genre-fare like Inside Man - that movie fires on all cylinders at all times!).

If we are kicking around alternate directors to do something unusual and interesting with Old Boy, I'd throw Juan Carlso Fresnadillo into the ring, I'd rather watch his version of Old Boy than his version of The Crow. But that's just me.

As to what film was better in 2003 than Old Boy. That's an easy one:

Memories of Murder
hell, I'll throw in A Tale of Two Sisters as well.

Then again, my favourite in the Revenge trilogy is easily Sympathy For Lady Vengence, but I won't deny that Old Boy is some pretty darn tour-de-force filmmaking, just not my favourite of that year either. As above, 3rd at best, albeit possibly the most 'pure cinema' of the bunch.

CHUDJuly 6, 2011 12:09 PM

i... i just hate so much right now. i respect Lee but it seems pretty obvious to me that he's not on the level of filmmaking as Park. so what could be hoped for this film other than a pointless, bludgeoning of a classic so that American audiences who couldn't be bothered to read subtitles can say "yeah, i saw Old Boy. that's the one where Will Smith fucks his own daughter right? it was pretty fucked up dude. huhuhuh!"

CHUDJuly 6, 2011 12:15 PM

Memories of Murder maybe. it's hard to compare because they're so different. I definitely don't think a Tale of Two Sisters was better, but that's just me.

AirchinapilotJuly 6, 2011 12:35 PM

Yeah I still rate Old Boy higher than Memories of Murder and Tale of Two Sisters. Tale of Two Sisters hinged a lot on that twist and unfortunately, it was impossible not to see it.

Memories of Murder is a fine film and does a good job of establishing the political / social environment for the mystery but it doesn't really resonate that well for me. I think people spoke so highly of it that I expected a masterpiece and it was fine but wasn't that for me.

Old Boy, however, really hit me out of the blue. It is very flawed. It has greater highs and greater lows than either of those other two movies but I think its essential craziness and ambition are worth more in my mind.

krakarJuly 6, 2011 2:08 PM

Totally agree about Lee and about Inside Man, that man has vision. And also about the unwanted remaking of the Crow..

Ard VijnJuly 6, 2011 2:11 PM

You think the incest will survive the remake process? Hm... we'll see.

CuttermaranJuly 6, 2011 3:00 PM

Don't think the incest will survive in hollywood version. And as for the best korean of 2003- definitly Memories of Murder. Watched it already 4 times. High Quality on every level. Oldboy comes close though.

huffy08July 6, 2011 5:03 PM

Well for starters "Memories of Murder" and "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring" are both superior. Not sure if "Oasis" came out that year, but if so then that too. I don't want to sound like I'm raging on the movie because I really like it (a lot actually) but it is very flawed. It's also annoying how people worship it and then don't bother watching any other Korean film.

huffy08July 6, 2011 5:06 PM

See, now I just can't get behind this line of thinking because Park's film itself was an adaptation, one that was quite different than the original manga. If anything making a more conventional adaptation would be more faithful to the source material.

Ard VijnJuly 6, 2011 5:39 PM

"It's also annoying how people worship it and then don't bother watching any other Korean film."

Well spoken. Ugh, I know that pain!
Like speaking to someone who goes on and on and on and on about really liking Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and then says "who?" when you mention Isao Takahata and "Grave of the Fireflies".

CHUDJuly 6, 2011 6:12 PM

i do actually think they'll leave the incest, though implied and not on the screen. just like Huff said a little higher up, Old Boy gets praise while other worthy Korean films go unnotice. that's because the shock of incest was memorable to most people, that's what people talk about when they talk about Old Boy, that and the hammer in the hallway scene, but he should fucking know better than to attempt the hammer scene. i know i could be completely wrong on this, but Lee never struck me as the timid type so it would not surprise me at all if he kept the incest... off screen.

dipiazza.adamJuly 6, 2011 7:01 PM

I was vehemently against the remake for a long time... but I'm actually intrigued by the prospect of Lee directing this. I'm probably in the extreme minority here, but I think I actually might want to have this happen now.

Also, agreed with Cutterman on Memories of Murder. Bong is my favorite South Korean director overall.

huffy08July 6, 2011 10:07 PM

I actually have a bigger problem with hardcore otaku who refuse to watch anything that it's mecha/moe than I do with people who only watch Miyazaki films. The latter is annoying but understandable given that western critics just flat-out ignore things like Whispers of the Heart, but if you consider yourself a fan you should at least be open-minded to shows that don't use saucer-eyes. There's a show called Mononoke that has some of the prettiest fucking art you'll ever see and so many people refuse to watch it because "it looks weird". Of course I can't stand most of the contemporary anime I catch so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Major_RagerJuly 6, 2011 10:22 PM

I am excited. It will be different. Which is a good thing.

THE BOW is probably my favorite Korean movie.

SebastianJuly 7, 2011 11:55 PM

For the love of god, Hollywood, stop remaking movies!

balistik94July 8, 2011 2:47 PM

I'm surprised that Spike Lee is involved in that cash grab.

KimberlyJuly 9, 2011 4:40 PM

The world neither needs nor wants yet another sub-par American remake of an incomparable foreign film.

Joshua ChaplinskyJuly 11, 2011 3:33 PM

Love how smug he is in that picture. He totally doesn't care WHAT we think.

banzabartestJuly 12, 2011 1:37 AM

Spike lee to direct an OLDBOY remake? When will the madness stop!!!!!!!!! When will the US movie going audience start branching out from there pathetic blockbuster movies and look to the rest of the world and notice that there are other countries doing amazing things that don't need to be redone. Absolutely pathetic that Oldboy is going to be remade. I blame everyone for letting that happen. Shame on you!

withoutsoundJuly 13, 2011 5:13 AM

@huffy08...Not sure if you're still reading the thread but would be interested in knowing how you thought Oldboy was flawed. I myself never read the manga, so to me the film stands on in it's own.

BlakberiJuly 13, 2011 1:15 PM

Its a great film despite and because of the flaws - I for one love remakes because I can then act all superior and tell them they should watch he original which is better et etc - kind if like what some people are doing here.

It matters not what we think - the film will be smithed (see what I'd did there?) money will be made and noses will be bent - but the money part is what is important. All that is left is for Mr Lee to add his own spin or not there is nothing anyone can do and the rest of us can watch or ignore. I prefer less bitching but I can't prevent that either

TahaniJanuary 19, 2012 10:55 AM

I really hope they don't make it cheesy,,no happy endings PLEASE

DavidApril 17, 2012 12:46 AM

spike lee you have one chance to do this movie right. this is one of my all time favorite movies dont screw it up! Hollywood seems to always disappoint me with remakes of foreign movies. TIP: IF ITS ALREADY A GREAT MOVIE DONT CHANGE OR REMAKE JUST DONT FUCK WITH IT!