With Spike Lee now officially locked to direct a US version of Oldboy the question nobody seems to have asked yet is what will provide the actual basis of this new version of the film. Many forget that Park Chan-Wook's South Korean film was itself an adaptation of a previous Japanese manga and so the question becomes which will provide the basis for the US film.
And the answer is both.
A source close to the production tells ScreenAnarchy that writer Mark Protosevich is using both the Korean film and the Japanese book as reference points for his own script. While the previous film will have more of an influence on the Protosevich script the manga will definitely also be present. Beyond that we are also told that the approach here is not unlike that employed with The Departed, a film from the same producers which used characters and scenarios from the source material as a launching point while also jettisoning several key elements and events from the original film and working significant amounts of entirely new material into the mix. We're told roughly twenty percent of the Protosevich script is entirely new material.
So here's what to expect. Just as Park Chan-Wook took a central concept from the Japanese manga while radically re-envisioning parts to create something new, the goal here is not to create a slavish shot-for-shot remake but to take elements of the Park film combined with elements of the manga and completely re-envision and re-contextualize those to create a specifically American story around the same concepts and themes. Time will tell what that actually looks like on screen.
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