Steven Spielberg and Will Smith Remaking Oldboy?!
by Alex Billington
November 7, 2008
He's already remaking Ghost in the Shell, so why not another Asian cinema classic? The newly independent DreamWorks is currently working to secure the remake rights to Chan-wook Park's 2003 film Oldboy. Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are in early discussions to collaborate on the remake, with Smith potentially starring and Spielberg potentially directing. They're currently searching for a screenwriter to begin developing the project while Spielberg finishes directing Tintin. Anyone who is familiar with the original, which is an incredible movie, knows that this isn't exactly the best idea, but if there's anyone who I'd be comfortable with taking on the monumental task of remaking it, it's definitely Spielberg.
In the original Korean film, a man named Dae-su Oh is kidnapped and held captive in a room for 15 years without any explanation or contact. He is suddenly released and given money, a cell phone, and clothes and takes off to discover who destroyed his life so he can take revenge. Oldboy is the second installment of Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy, preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and followed by Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The film is currently ranked at #117 on IMDb's Top 250 and is heralded by many as a modern Asian cinema classic. Anyone who hasn't seen it needs to pick up a copy right away.
I'm a big fan of the original (as well as all of the films in Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy) and even I'm a bit worried about this remake - mainly because it's too fucked up for American cinema. Here's the thing - they're going to do it, this is going to do be remade, there's no way around it, so don't try and convince them otherwise. I think Peter from SlashFilm makes a fantastic point: "Would you rather someone like Justin Lin of Tokyo Drift fame helm the adaptation with someone of the likes of Vin Diesel attached to star, or the biggest director in American cinema history and Will Smith attached to star?" I know I agree with him and admit that if there's anyone who could pull it off, it would be Spielberg. Here's to hoping he does!