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Josh Brolin Reportedly Tops List Of Actors To Star In Spike Lee's "Oldboy" Adaptation

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 12, 2011 7:58 AM
18 Comments
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The folks at Twitch, who broke the initial story about Spike Lee's involvement in the US adaptation of Oldboy, just revealed that Josh Brolin is the production and financing company's (Mandate Pictures') top choice to star as the lead character in Spike Lee's direction of the Japanese manga made popular by Park Chan-wook's 2003 award-winning film.

But, as Twitch notes, nothing has been signed yet, so it's not necessarily a done deal. They very well could be looking at other actors.

I know some folks automatically assumed that the lead role would go to a black actor, since Spike was attached, but, not-so-fast my friends. I never expected that to happen; unless the actor's name was either Will Smith or Denzel Washington; essentially, big name stars with international appeal. Will was actually once attached to star, so it won't be a stretch.

I joked on Twitter about starting rumors saying that Idris Elba would be cast in the role, not really expecting that he would even be considered. Although, given that I've read the comic the film is based on, and seen Chan-wook's film, I'd say Idris would actually be a good fit, given what he did in a film like Legacy, which takes place almost entirely in one room, and his work on Luther.

So, who knows; maybe Idris is on the short-list; maybe he's not. He's certainly a *hot* actor right now.

Regardless, if Brolin does get the job, I'll be OK with that. I like him as an actor.

Who do you think should be cast in the role? Chime in below...

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18 Comments

  • misha | July 17, 2011 1:27 AMReply

    @CareyCarey, Oh here you go with that Oscar talk again. :P There have been quite a few actors nominated for Oscars who don't have much international appeal at all. Also, Brolin may have been in a few hit movies but he was not the "star" of those films and thus is more of an unknown as it relates to international appeal. Idris, on the other hand, is more of a rising star whose international appeal is steadily growing, particularly with the success of Luther and now being cast in films like Prometheus and as the lead in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim.

    But again, I am a fan of both actors and would be happy to see either in the role. :)

  • CareyCarey | July 16, 2011 4:07 AMReply

    “Carey, Brolin isn’t a internationally known actor. You do not agree?”

    Well Misha, if we look at your question and put it in the context of your earlier comment, I believe you’ll see where I am coming from. In the year 2010 alone, Brolin had deep roles in many huge hits, or at least movies that made over 100 million dollars. Now, it goes without question that many of those movies had international appeal and exposure. Also, as far back as 2005, Brolin has been doing the damn thang in major productions. The same cannot be said for Idris Alba. And if I am not mistaken, Brolin has been nominated for an Oscar, which certainly brings international exposure.

    Now my lady, what ye say about Idris? Bring his chops to the table or say... “you’re right Mr. CareyCarey” *LOL*

  • misha | July 16, 2011 2:24 AMReply

    @CareyCarey, what is so shocking/baffling about my comment? Brolin isn't a internationally known actor. You do not agree?

    And yes, I do take note of good-looking men...sue me. :D

  • CareyCarey | July 14, 2011 3:38 AMReply

    Now this has been a great manly discussion and I’ll get back to that. But first I have to say that Spike can do no wrong by me. Granted, the man dropped the ball on “Miracle” but who hasn’t slept in the wrong bed - at least one time?

    But Dankwa came strong... “To me Spike has the technical skill and artistic eye, if not savoir-faire to make more great films… Even if he isn’t well liked, I think Spike’s skill is respected among his peers”

    Yep, Dankwa let the man in him give props where props were due and I agree. He also said...

    “I was VERY IMPRESSED with Brolin in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and I think he did a good job in ‘American Gangster’, but lets face it, the movie wasn’t great. I think he would be a good fit for what I’ve read about the role”

    I agree with his take on Brolin, however, I must be one of the few who thought “American Gangster” was a very enjoyable film? Well, maybe my affection for the movie has a lot to do with the core issues of the movie and the time period. I mean, I thought most of the acting was great but the subject matter hit my sweet spot. Maybe I shouldn’t say “sweet spot” but I too was a drug smuggler during the Viet Nam War. As suggested by the movie, the US military was a major source/route of drug transportation from southeast Asia. And yes, I have a true live story of how I was part of that mix. I wasn’t as big as Frank Lucas but making thousands of dollars a day was no problem. I would get on US military planes, fly over, make the deal and send it back via military transportation. But lets move on.

    Dankwa said: “Can spike do action? It’s called Stunt Coordinators people. The directors oversee everything of course, but it is the Stunt Coordinators that are the unsung heroes of any action film”

    Huuuuummm, I paused a second, but our resident actor - in the know- beat me to the punch.

    Jug said: “@Dankwa-True indeed. But stunt coordinators are not directors. Stunt coordinators do just that, coordinate stunts, they are choreographers. It’s like a Sous-Chef in a kitchen. They may be high up on the depth chart but they serve the Head Chef, his or her vision”

    Well, I can’t help but believe my man Dankwa is shaking his head in agreement. Now another dude stop by to give his opinion.

    Roller coaster said: “Listen, Brolin’s a talented guy, but if studios start inventing nonsensical reasons why someone like Anthony Mackie, Will Smith, Idris Elba, etc. shouldn’t be the lead, then I really don’t want anything to do with the movie”

    Now our actor, Jug, couldn’t sit back and give that opinion a pass. He raised up from his seat one more time. I mean, he didn’t backhand (pimp slap) Roller Coaster, he simply stood up and said: “And people, can we please THINK about this casting, Anthony Mackie is 31. The character has been imprisoned for 15 years, away from his DAUGHTER!! When did he get kidnapped, on his way to gym class?!? I swear, I want a black actor in A LOT of roles, but can we THINK before we speak & try to talk sensibly about a film & it’s components LOL”

    Now that was load and clear but I hear a couple of women coming down the aisle, so let me tell you what big Al said before they arrive. He said: “I don’t know. I can really see Benecio del Toro in this role. I think he’s perfect for it”

    Oh yeah, Jug liked that comment, he said: “And yeah, Benecio would kill this!” But then the women brought their hot pants to the party. Okay, I don’t want Monique blasting me for sounding sexiest, but the women had a different slant/vision.

    Ms. Misha said: “I actually think Idris has more international appeal than Brolin“. WHAT!?

    Misha: “Ahh, Idris…Brolin…their both fine actors and I certainly enjoy looking at them both. :D”

    Lynn said: “I am afraid there is nothing really special or superb about him as an actor. It’s all nepotism to me anyway he did a okay job in “American Gangster” (2007) but as actor??”

    Well folks, that’s all I’m gonna say about that. But I’ve heard so many good things about “oldboy” that I am seriously thinking about getting it “tonight” but I don’t want it to spoil my enjoyment of Spike’s version. You know, I want the whole experience to be fresh and new, like a fresh and new love interest (woman). Come on now, y’all know those first 6 months of a new love affair should be bottled because it don’t get no better. Having said that, should I get it or not?

  • Dankwa Brooks | July 13, 2011 10:31 AMReply

    I was VERY IMPRESSED with Brolin in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and I think he did a good job in ‘American Gangster’, but lets face it, the movie wasn’t great. I think he would be a good fit for what I’ve read about the role.

    As far as other casting I agree with Al Benecio del Toro would be a FANSTASTIC fit. He has that “true grit” about him that it seems like this role calls for. I don’t think Will could get that grimey. Denzel could (Man on Fire, Training Day), but he is too old. If the box office potential was there I could see Spike fighting to keep it Asian. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening.

    I’m probably going to see the original for three reasons. It has so much acclaim. A good friend of mine highly recommends it. Spike Lee is doing the remake.

    As far as Spike Lee being able to adapt this, this is what I said in another article here. "To me Spike has the technical skill and artistic eye, if not savoir-faire to make more great films... Even if he isn’t well liked, I think Spike’s skill is respected among his peers." Can spike do action? It’s called Stunt Coordinators people. The directors oversee everything of course, but it is the Stunt Coordinators that are the unsung heroes of any action film.

  • rollercoaster | July 13, 2011 4:50 AMReply

    When did Josh Brolin get international appeal? Or was that used up in that horrible movie Jonah Hex?
    Listen, Brolin's a talented guy, but if studios start inventing nonsensical reasons why someone like Anthony Mackie, Will Smith, Idris Elba, etc. shouldn't be the lead, then I really don't want anything to do with the movie.

  • Jug | July 13, 2011 4:15 AMReply

    @Dankwa-True indeed. But stunt coordinators are not directors. Stunt coordinators do just that, coordinate stunts, they are choreographers. It's like a Sous-Chef in a kitchen. They may be high up on the depth chart, helping to give orders & dish out responsibilities, but they serve the Head Chef, his or her vision. And if that vision is sorely lacking, well, let's just hope that the 2nd Unit director is an action dude LOL

    And people, can we please THINK about this casting, Anthony Mackie is 31. The character has been imprisoned for 15 years, away from his DAUGHTER!! When did he get kidnapped, on his way to gym class?!?

    I swear, I want a black actor in A LOT of roles, but can we THINK before we speak & try to talk sensibly about a film & it's components LOL

    And yeah, Benecio would kill this!

  • Zeus | July 13, 2011 3:41 AMReply

    There are no Asian big box office stars. Especially none that fit this character. Studios ain't havin that.

  • blah blah | July 13, 2011 2:09 AMReply

    Why not an Asian lead?

  • Al | July 12, 2011 12:39 PMReply

    I don't know. I can really see Benecio del Toro in this role. I think he's perfect for it.

  • Jug | July 12, 2011 11:44 AMReply

    Josh Brolin is a great choice. I know everybody on this blog may want a brother, hell so would I, but speaking in a strictly business manner, it may not be the best move. This is already causing a little bit of a stir in Hollywood because after Spielberg & Will, it goes to Spike. WTF?!? But in a decidedly GOOD way, not that "Idris to TP" way. Folks are really interested now, in the movie & in Spike. We already know he can deliver great filmmaking, comedy & drama. But complex revenge/action stuff...On a Hong Kong/anime front?! Yeah, that's got people's heads turning. Quickest way to have their heads turn back, hire a black actor IF it isn't warranted. I say IF because (to my eternal shame) I'm not super familiar with the film. But I'm familiar with both Spike & Brolin. Anyone that saw Brolin in MILK knows he can play "normal man/straight laced pushed to breaking point & beyond". And of course we know his more recent harder edge A-hole roles, where he can tear it up. OR maybe Spike just saw the best actor for the part, you know that whole "TALENT/each man unto his abilities" thing LOL

    I think the two of them will do something special, if not for anything more than to give Hollywood the finger for saying they couldn't.

  • Tamara | July 12, 2011 11:13 AMReply

    I don't see it.

    I mean, Josh is a great actor yes, but I'm envisioning the character of "Daesu" before the room, before he went 'hammertime' on 50-11 bad guys...I don't see it.

  • Neziah | July 12, 2011 11:05 AMReply

    Idris Elba is all I hear about, Josh Brolin should do it, he's a great actor with a lot of range, and can carry a film on his own, loved him in "No Country For Old Men" and American Gangster, among others.

  • misha | July 12, 2011 10:23 AMReply

    If Josh is indeed at the top of the list, I don't see him turning it down, as this could be a career-defining film for him.

    However, Josh Brolin doesn't have much international appeal. If he's being considered, I see no reason why the likes of Idris Elba wouldn't be as well and I actually think Idris has more international appeal than Brolin. Ahh, Idris...Brolin...their both fine actors and I certainly enjoy looking at them both. :D

  • Zeus | July 12, 2011 9:15 AMReply

    I dig Josh Brolin. He's pretty solid. Long way from being the oldest kid in "The Goonies."

  • Jeremy | July 12, 2011 8:44 AMReply

    Anthony Mackie. Has an existing relationship with Lee, and I think this could be the one where it's really all on him to carry a film with a wide range of emotion and physical work. It could blast him into the stars once and for all.

  • Laura | July 12, 2011 8:26 AMReply

    I like Brolin as an actor too, he's impressed me a lot the last few years. So if he's in it I would see it for sure.

  • Lynn | July 12, 2011 8:26 AMReply

    Hmm, Josh Brolin?? I am afraid there is nothing really special or superb about him as an actor. It's all nepotism to me anyway he did a okay job in "American Gangster" (2007) but as actor?? Hmm, I dunno...I guess we just have to wait and see what happens next.

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