Though he’s been a force in American cinema for nearly thirty years, it would seem that even Spike Lee isn’t above reproach. While everyone’s focusing on Harvey Weinstein’s meddling hands in the ongoing “Snowpiercer” controversy, it seems that Lee has run into some editing trouble of his own on the forthcoming “Oldboy” remake.
In the middle of an interview with star Josh Brolin, the LA Times (via Bloody-Disgusting) casually reveals the existence of an alternate so-called—at least by the newspaper—“director’s cut,” one that’s much longer than the 104-minute film we’ll see on Thanksgiving weekend, by 76 minutes. The revelation comes after Brolin tactfully talks his way around badmouthing the yet-to-be-released remake, saying “I do have opinions, but it’s better to bite my tongue.” Ouch. For what it’s worth, Brolin did tell the newspaper that he much preferred “Lee’s earlier three-hour director’s cut that was both quieter and filled with more character-centric moments.”
Lee isn’t the type of filmmaker to take things lying down or keep quiet about things he isn’t happy about, so the drastically different runtimes could just be due to Lee shaping the film to meet the requirements for theatrical release. And it should be noted that many films have drastically longer rough cuts before they are edited down to what we see onscreen. Either way, we're sure the usually chatty Lee will share an answer soon enough.
But could a hyper-violent film with potentially controversial subject matter and ending—if it stays roughly in the same vein as Park Chan-wook’s original film—really end up Lee’s most commercially palatable and viable film? “Oldboy” is, as Bloody-Disgusting notes, after all the only film credited as “a Spike Lee film” instead of another “Spike Lee joint.” Our answer awaits us on November 27th when “Oldboy” opens nationwide. Check out some new pics below along with a revised trailer with some new bits of footage in it.