It's Official: 'Oldboy' Is Now A Spike Lee Joint

by Kevin Jagernauth
July 11, 2011 6:52 AM
16 Comments
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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...

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More: Films, Spike Lee, Oldboy (Remake)

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16 Comments

  • Mr. Arkadin | July 13, 2011 8:54 AMReply

    both lee and park are undeniably very capable directors with a lot of style and substance. it could work... (but it's still totally unnecessary)

  • filmisdead | July 12, 2011 3:44 AMReply

    what a waste of time and money.

  • raul | July 12, 2011 3:25 AMReply

    @Cal Meacham: well, he does have one inarguable put-it-in-a-time-capsule classic to his name (Do the Right Thing), and another one arguably just as good (25th Hour), which is more than you can say for Chan-wook Park, or for that matter most other directors.

  • Cal Meacham | July 11, 2011 10:34 AMReply

    Let me see. Get a crappy director to remake the work of a brilliant director. Sounds like an awful idea.

  • The Playlist | July 11, 2011 8:54 AMReply

    Since when is "oldboy" an "all-out action movie"? Did you see the same movie that we did? Could it have easily starred Stallone?

  • Xian | July 11, 2011 8:49 AMReply

    This is a movie that simply does NOT NEED TO BE MADE. The original is fine, and if short bus American audiences can't view it because (gasp!) it has subtitles or a foreign tilt to the story... tough! I know a Mona Lisa that needs repainting... she's not smiling enough for us slap-happy American idiots.

  • BradZuhl | July 11, 2011 8:38 AMReply

    Spike's never done an all-out action movie (I don't consider Inside Man or Miracle at St. Anna to be action movies). So this should be an interesting experiment. I don't know why people get so up in arms about English language remakes. If they fuck it up, you still have the original. And it's not like the original is Citizen Kane.

  • Mr Anonymous | July 11, 2011 8:23 AMReply

    Someone get Idris Elba on the phone right this instant! We needs a Spike and Idris joint!

  • PapushiSun | July 11, 2011 8:18 AMReply

    I understand the original film deviated substantially from the source manga. And I seem to remember either Spielberg or Will Smith saying the remake would be based on the manga more than the film. I wonder if it still applies.

  • Cory Everett | July 11, 2011 7:59 AMReply

    I remember seeing this in the theatre and thinking that it was a movie that would never get a pass if it were made in English. Hopefully Lee has a good script to work from because the original is pretty silly.

  • Taylor | July 11, 2011 7:43 AMReply

    I wonder if Denzel will turn this down or not.

  • jimmiescoffee | July 11, 2011 7:35 AMReply

    spike lee also hasn't made a good movie since 2002.
    although,
    ('she hate me' was pretty good)

  • KT | July 11, 2011 7:34 AMReply

    Idris Elba for the lead!

  • Piotr | July 11, 2011 7:32 AMReply

    So it's about race now?

  • Michael | July 11, 2011 7:20 AMReply

    Spike Lee is a better director than Chan-Wook Park, and this is about the only way I can be interested in this remake. Whatever we get, it absolutely will not be anonymous, and it has potential to be even better than the middling original. Bring it on, Spike.

  • jimmiescoffee | July 11, 2011 7:05 AMReply

    don't know exactly how to feel about his. however, it could be a lot worse..i will say that.

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