Update 2 (4/13, 1:46 a.m.): That was quick! Confirming the story originally reported by Deadline, Sony has indeed picked up remake rights, with Roy Lee's Vertigo Entertainment set as the production company. One additional tidbit: the project will not be rushed into production, so if the earliest release date would be sometime in 2014.
Update 1 (4/12, 11:00 p.m.): We've now heard from a well-placed source in Korea that while there is a lot of interest (and indeed three companies seeking rights), as of yet a deal has not been struck, though it seems imminent.
Original story as follows:
Remake rights to Korean gangster flick New World have been acquired by Sony Pictures, according to Deadline. Roy Lee, a veteran behind a number of U.S. remakes of Asian titles, will produce along with Dan Lin and Jon Silk.
Our own Pierce Conran reviewed the film when it opened in Korea last month. He noted:
At first glance, Park Hoon-jeong's New World seems to be a retread of Infernal Affairs (2002) for its tale of undercover agents with wavering loyalties, but really this latest Korean gangland saga has much more in common with the more sprawling, densely populated sagas such as the Godfather series and the Election films. What all these films have in common is that they deal with succession and feature multiple characters in warring factions, thus examining the structure of crime organizations rather than their principal characters.
Pierce concluded his review by saying: "On the whole this is a thoroughly engaging affair that comfortably takes its place alongside Korean cinema's many great gangster films. I may have highlighted a lot of negatives but this is a very impressive sophomore work from an increasingly important filmmaker."
The English-language remake will be written by Will Fetters, who has recently penned scripts for A Star is Born (Clint Eastwood), Crazy For the Storm (Sean Penn), and The Best of Me (NIcholas Sparks). Now who will direct?