By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 11, 2011 at 6:52AM
It's been one helluva day for Spike Lee news. In case you missed it this morning, word hit that the writer/director was reprising his role as Mookie from "Do The Right Thing" in a new, totally under the radar project called "Red Hook Summer." But it looks like the big, blockbuster project Lee was linked to last week is now official.
Mandate Pictures has announced that the long brewing "Oldboy" remake is now a Spike Lee Joint with his shingle 40 Acres & A Mule teaming with Vertigo Entertainment for the pic. Ever since Chan-wook Park's brutal revenge story about a man imprisoned for decades by a mysterious stranger hit in 2004 to a Cannes Grand Jury Prize and massive acclaim, talk of an Americanization has circulated. 2008 saw Will Smith and Steven Spielberg, an actor/director pair as ill-suited to the project as possible, attach themselves to the film. They departed not long after when Mandate and DreamWorks fell out, but late last year, it was reported that writer Mark Protosevich had turned in a draft that had executives jumping for joy, and that Spielberg had been approached again, along with Matthew Vaughn and Danny Boyle. Well, scratch those names because Lee will get behind the camera for what will easily be his most unique project to date.
Granted, we've always been wary of a remake of a film that is already perfect on its own in so many ways, and bears a distinct visual style and thematic undercurrent that Hollywood would simply never touch. And while Lee is certainly a nervy and inspired choice, it will be down to the script by Protosevich ("The Cell," "I Am Legend") to sell us on this. Will this be a watered down version of Park's vision or something unique and striking itself? Either way, with Lee at the helm it's undoubtedly compelling, and we'll be eager to see how this takes shape. Get ready for shortlist reports about the lead role to begin...