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!
Reader Feedback - 57 Comments
WORST IDEA EVER! 🙁 I'm sad now.
Samantha on Nov 7, 2008
Talk about a film that does NOT need to be remade. It's perfect as is!
TonyRockyHorror on Nov 7, 2008
Will Smith? Really? Ugh... please make the hurting stop. 🙁 Oh well, at least there's always the original that we can watch.
JustinWhy on Nov 7, 2008
i agree, Samantha. Choi Min-Sik (who played Dae-su Oh in the original) put in the kind of knuckle chewing, gut wrenching (and, let's not forget, live octopus eating) performance rarely seen these days in cinema. it was a De Niro / Taxi Driver level performance that even someone of the improving calibre of Will Smith (i think he has got a lot better in recent years) would surely think twice about trying to emulate. maybe he wants a role with a bit more meat on it? who knows, perhaps this remake is a fait accompli, as you suggest, Alex, but i am still at a loss to understand why the immediate reaction to a great film in a foreign language with subtitles is, 'let's remake it.' i guess that's why i'm never going to be a hollywood executive. Oldboy was a fucked up film, but in the best way conceivable. as for this possible remake, i just hope there aren't adorable little children or aliens in this. if AI: Articifial Intelligence is anything to go by, Spielberg is certainly no slave to (in that case, Kubrick's) precedent.
lumière on Nov 7, 2008
lol? Worst idea ever. I agree with # 4. I just don't why they have to remake everything in english... Haven't we learned from Iron Chef America, that somethings are great in their native language, and just dont translate well? lmao.
9mm on Nov 7, 2008
Ive no problems with Spielberg directing this but Will Smith ? I like the guy but how will he ever pull off this one ? I always pictured Gary Oldman as a perfect Oh Dae-su. Is it confirmed that Smith is going for the Dae-su ? Cause I think he would be a perfect Woo-jin Lee, the "bad guy" in the original.
shige on Nov 7, 2008
I think Alex hit the nail on the head with "I'm a bit worried about this remake - mainly because it's too fucked up for American cinema." Spielberg loves happy endings. And this movie does not even come close to having one.
JosefG on Nov 7, 2008
I wonder how Spielberg will fit the aliens into the plot...
Siggi on Nov 7, 2008
I have to disagree with you Alex. I would rather see, if it has to be remade, a forgettable remake that comes and goes, stirring a little interest in the original film. A Spielberg/Smith remake will be a huge hit and the original will be lost. Until recently I did not take the position that a remake causes the original any harm, but now I am teaching college freshmen have come to find out that they have no comprehension that they are watching remakes and that there are original versions out there. Film history is in trouble. What they did not know existed: Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw, Hills Have Eyes, Get Smart, The Departed, War of the Worlds, Day the Earth Stood Still....
goudos on Nov 7, 2008
#6 has a good point. Smith would be a really good choice for the bad guy.
9mm on Nov 7, 2008
I like both Will Smith and Steven Spielberg (except for A.I.) but they are the worst imaginable choice ever to be remaking Oldboy. Remaking the perfect film Oldboy is actually one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard in my life - and I've heard lots of dumb ideas - but I guess I'll have to kill myself once I see it done by Will Smith and Steven Spielberg. GOD DAMN IT, IT'S STEVEN SPIELBERG - how can anyone who's ever seen a film by him think he'd be the right director for an Oldboy remake?? I'm really angry now!! Why the hell did they sell the rights for GitS and Oldboy anyway...?
c-r-u-x on Nov 7, 2008
WHAT?! NOOOOOOO!!!! I just ordered the orginal, and its one of the best films I`ve ever seen. Why oh why would they wanna remake this??? theres no way the remake could ever beat the first. God what the flying fuck convinced steve speilberg and will smith that this was a good idea???????? =(
buddhistwisdom7 on Nov 7, 2008
And moreover - Will Smith can never play Oh Dae-su in a better or even equal way as Choi Min-sik. I agree with #6, Will Smith could - potentially - play Lee Woo-jin but he has never played a "bad guy" and probably never will.
c-r-u-x on Nov 7, 2008
EPIC FAIL For the love of god stop will smith from destroying good things. First it was I Am Legend and now this. And the same problem lies here.....I Am Legend was a great story American audiences wouldn't have accepted much like Oldboy. So they changed it up and it was crap. That is all.
Heckle on Nov 7, 2008
No Mr Spielberg, naughty. Put it down.
Smiffy1 on Nov 7, 2008
I hate hollywood. Now every American and there Mom will have no desire to see the originals. This vengence trilogy are the best I've seen of it's genre, it would be a shame to see this one Americanized. Some films have too much of their culture in the them for it to transfer well in a remake. In my opinion Spielbergs time has passed and same with many directors of his generation. When someone just resorts to making half-assed American remakes and cashing in on thier franchise (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) to make shitty sequels they have lost my respect and my money. Hollywood is very cheap, if all they want to do is run on existing materials and not write anything original then I really don't care what they have to offer. Yes, Will Smith is a great actor, but Hollywood is dumb to think that he can be cut and pasted into any roll they want (I am Legend). So, NO this film should not be made.
kaputtautomat on Nov 7, 2008
Why? It was a perfectly good movie that doesn't need to be remade. I also don't think Spielberg or Smith could match the darkness of the original. Just leave it alone and come up with another story.
Byonic on Nov 7, 2008
Oh no. This is horrible
Shannon on Nov 7, 2008
I mean it's not like it's gonna be horrible but still...weirrrrd.
Michael on Nov 7, 2008
The only plus side to this story is that more people will be exposed to the Proper Oldboy and more of Parks Work. Hopefully they will seek out the rest of the trilogy or see "i am a cyborg, but thats ok" or at least JSA. That is the only Plus to this story.
Red Buttons on Nov 7, 2008
Oldboy is a very unique film. When my friend first showed my the trailer, I told him "dude, that looks awful." After watching it, I loved the movie. It's in a league of it's own. Spielberg has a very, very different style and sense of story than Park. This will be a challenge to everyone involved in the production... I do agree with #16 --I think more people should see the original Oldboy.
Ivan Jaime on Nov 7, 2008
Slashfilm made a good point in that this is a film that definitely will be remade whether we like it or not, so we can only hope that we get the best treatment possible for it. So, as much as I think Spielberg has the technical capabilities to remake this, I can't imagine him keeping the plot intact. If you guys saw the Indian remake (Zinda), they curbed the final plot points in a way that made it less taboo while taking a lot of the impact out of the film. I would hate to see that happen under Spielberg's direction. And yes, Will Smith would be terrible for this. He's too nice for this film. Oldman, as someone mentioned, would be fantastic if he could channel his old Stansfield character.
Rahat on Nov 7, 2008
What a waste of a good idea. Smith is the same for almost every film, so what now he thinks he can do a better job than the original? I wonder if they think this will be as good as Indiana jones Kingdom of the krystal skull ... hahahaha PLEASE STOP!!!!!!
THERBLIG on Nov 7, 2008
Never heard of the Movie....Sounds interesting...If anything, the remakes steers people, that care about such things, to the source material..Nothing wrong with that. A great movie can exist in foreign film, but only fan boys and the like will know about it. A remake is made and suddenly it's playing in cinemax for all to enjoy...Not a bad thing...and who knows, Spielberg and Smith might make something special that can be judge separately from the source material. I will reserve judgment till it exist. In the mean time, I am going to see the Original this weekend somehow, sounds like a fun watch.
ERivas on Nov 7, 2008
This is the worst idea ever!!!! and they'll try and make it PG-13 too... Imagine that!? wtf is this... worst idea seriously. and sadly people wont be more inclined to seek out the original. think about all the better asian horror films that were remade. the majority of people wont even know its a remake. I agree with you number 9. I think people should really really just watch the original. This one film make me love asian movies and go out and seek out new asian movies.
Sean on Nov 7, 2008
I love, love, love Steven Spielberg, but I can't see this working at all, at least not with an actor as cuddly and likeable as Will Smith. If it happens he'd really have to stretch himself with this one, but maybe that's the reason for his interest, so perhaps it's worth cutting him some slack. Spielberg, on the other hand, has already shown he can work well in pretty much any genre in recent years, so the 'he'll put cute kids and aliens in it' remarks are fatuous at best. But still... it just seems to me that any western remake would emasculate the original. For one thing, surely the tight animal welfare regulations in America wouldn't allow for a scene as shocking as the infamous live squid sequence?
Daaaave on Nov 7, 2008
Gary Oldman would be amazing. This remake will be so censored. I don't know...seems like a wasted of time. Do something else.
wm on Nov 7, 2008
It's so hard to decide how this will work out. The manga started excellent and slowly declined to boredom, and the movie was very entertaining. I think big budget would really hurt this one
L on Nov 7, 2008
Given that both (Smith and Spielberg) delivered and made successful movies, i agree with the comments here. IT IS A BAD IDEA... The movie (or the trilogy) is really really fucked up. The tone of the movie wouldnt work with Hitch. It is like remaking Fight Club with iono will ferrell. Can someone who others claim to be brilliant resorted to a remake? It would strike curiousity to moviegoers the original movie that lead to this "remake". As someone who is a big fan of the trilogy, skeptikal and i feel like there is a big chance that they would bastardize the movie. the violence in this movie is OFF THE CHAIN and the twist in the end, i dont know how it would settle in the US or how fans would react to it.
Paprika on Nov 7, 2008
why dont they cast gary oldman as the lead he could make it work
nelson on Nov 7, 2008
I'm not feeling this, not at all got love for both Speilberg and Smith and I own Oldboy on DVD. This should not happena general American audience will hate it and honestly I don't wanna see the outcome of Will Smith, incest and a pair of scissors (Which would most likely not happen in a US remake..)
PimpSlapStick on Nov 7, 2008
This doesn't need to be remade. Oldboy surprised the hell out of me, and is one of my favorite movies period. Plus, I'm so sick of Will Smith. I've never been impressed with any of his work, and still to this day don't understand why he's praised so much. Just the fact that it's Will Smith is why I won't be seeing it at the theater. I may rent it to see what goes on but..........yeah. Not gonna waste my time. GARY OLDMAN COULD PULL IT OFF THOUGH. GARY OLDMAN CAN DO NO WRONG 😛
Houdini Splicer on Nov 7, 2008
Freaky Asian movies never translate well to American films. Then again, they've never had Steven Spielberg on their side, have they?
Vegeta on Nov 7, 2008
And I do NOT like the idea of Will Smith in the lead. Don't ask me why, I'm just gettin' kinda tired of the guy. But we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.
Vegeta on Nov 7, 2008
FUCK SPIELBERG! FUCK WILL SMITH! AND FUCK HOLLYWOOD! You don't remake perfection!
SatanicBoomBoomHead on Nov 8, 2008
#31, that is maybe the most egregious spoiler I've ever seen. Can you or a mod edit that comment. It's be a shame to ruin this amazing movie for those people that get drawn to it with the news of a remake. That would defeat the only thing good about this news.
Grooviemann1 on Nov 8, 2008
I think asian Americans should get a bit angry and say wait a minute, african americans are not the only minority in America. Why is it so many movie hollywood remakes have to remake the main character as a black man? Either way this is meh.
JohnW on Nov 8, 2008
Just like the South Park episode about Indiana Jones, Spielberg is taking a good idea and raping it, ruining what is was. And Will Smith, I can't see him saying, "hey, I'd love to play this part."
AJ on Nov 9, 2008
I think the idea od remake is not the big problem here. It's WHO'S ONBOARD WITH THIS. Spielberg and Will Smith. Wrong director and actor matching with the wrong genre. Old Body was f**ked up man. It was raw!! The lead is this maniac that just ready to explode in any second. Will Smith is too "clean" for this role. Ed Norton will be great for this role but maybe too young for it. Too bad Robert D. Jr's image is tied with Iron Man and Sherlock, I think he will be great as well.
Joe C. on Nov 9, 2008
Hollywood, First off, let me explain that the very existence of my nature is to create and enjoy art. Now tell me why it is that Hollywood puts a dollar sign on everything that steps foot in its boundaries? Are there any filmmakers these days that actually want to create art or is everybody so worried about making millions of dollars and becoming famous that they forget the whole point of art? For instance, I deem the Korean masterpiece “Oldboy” as my favorite movie of all time (alongside “Braveheart”). They are my favorite films because in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing anybody change about them to make them better films. I’m also obsessed with movies. I’ve seen around 6,500 movies, if not more, in the past five years. I’m an artist obsessed with beauty. I found out today that “Oldboy” is going to be remade by Steven Spielberg. The thing that upsets me the most is the fact that Hollywood is once again ruining an already perfect film in order to make some quick cash. It wouldn’t bother me as much as it does had Steven Spielberg not decided to cast Will Smith as the lead character, Oh Dae-Su. The problem with replacing Min-sik Choi with the American version, Will Smith, is that Will’s acting style is NOTHING like Min-sik Choi’s. He is, for the most part, a mainstream actor that makes blockbuster films, not artistic films. The troubling part to all this madness is Steven Spielberg, which generally makes blockbuster films for the mainstream audience, is not obsessed with upholding a perfected script, by perfected performances, to make a perfected film, which has in the past, already been perfected. You see, Spielberg, a GREAT director in my opinion, made “Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List”, masterpieces. Those films are masterpieces and if another director were to remake those films, it would be the same exact thing as to what he’s doing with the already master pieced, “Oldboy”. It’s like taking Abraham Lincoln out of office and replacing him with George W. Bush Jr. The biggest problem to remaking “Oldboy” in my belief is that Hollywood has a way of undermining the graphic details of foreign masterpieces in order to tame the essence of the film so they may reach more viewers. The eating of the live squid and sleeping with the daughter will most assuredly be pulled out for being too “graphic” for American audiences and allowing the film to be more “mainstream” and pull in more cash at the box office. It’s scenes like this that are the essence of “Oldboy” and if they are taken out for the American version of the remake, then I rest my case. For now, only time will tell but I will forever ridicule Hollywood for its lack of respect towards art. I hope one day that my own films will bring light to artistic film making once again and open doors to all that are also against the morals of Hollywood’s unoriginal get quick schemes. This blog is based on my opinion only and I write it to make a point that not everybody has to follow the mainstream crowd. I still love some of Steven Spielberg’s work but don’t necessarily believe Will Smith even remotely comes close to the type of actor that should be cast as the lead, Oh Dae-su. I also pray, wish, and hope that Spielberg doesn’t take away the essence that is “Oldboy” or I will forever hold a silent grudge in my head for the rest of my life on Earth. Long live art over m
kyle rea on Nov 19, 2008
this is not off the korean movie, Its going to be based off of the original material. The Japanese Manga in which the korean movie is based off. Although in the korean version Park changed up the story a bit to make it more suitable for korean audiences,
mizuta on Dec 7, 2008
Will Smith sucks. I just saw The Day The Earth Stood Still and it was okay until Will Smith's dumb kid popped his annoying head up every five minutes. I'm assuming that "Will-you please go away already-Smith" must have invested a large sum of money into production of the film to get his no talent kid into the script. BORING!!! Retire already, Mr. Smith.
The Realist on Dec 24, 2008
will smith?!?!?!! so gay, like seriously.. he's not that great of an actor!! damn.. he just tries way 2 hard.. he's really going 2 fuck the story over!!!! steven should change his top actor.. he knows better!!
teena on Jan 10, 2009
I have faith in both Spielberg and Smith, but they don't have a chance in hell in doing this movie well AT ALL. With Smith doesn't have the balls for this role, and neither Spielberg for directing. Americans aren't ready for this movie. WORST IDEA EVER
Clamson on Jan 16, 2009
Why, why, why, why. I just cant see why someone would want to remake this movie. This movie is amazing, if someone wants to watch it, go to a dvd store and buy it, it's not even an old movie, so why make a remake to a film that was made not but 6 years ago. Come on, this trend of taking great asian films and remaking them is bull. I DONT WANT TO SEE A REMAKE TO AN ALREADY GREAT WORK OF ART!!!! Go remake a bad film, but this.... really? Even if it turned out to be an amazing movie the remake could never come close to the original. I could never see a real fan of Oldboy or Park Chan-wook's work want to see a remake. I can say I trully hope this movie is canceled
Banks on Jan 18, 2009
Jesus Holy Christ of Latter Day Saints! Speilberg and Smith remaking "Oldboy"??? This is worse than when I heard joel schumacher wanting to remake Schindler's List! (Schumacher already said that Oskar Schindler's business suit will have nipples). I'm sure Speilberg will have Smith chasing his cut off tongue across the room as wind and cars cause it to bounce around as Smith tries to put it back in his mouth. Oh, and all the merchandise tie-in's! Just think Crest will be on board, as teeth are a big part of this movie! Reece's Pieces might even make a comeback! And just imagine the great robot acting by Nicole Kidman playing "Mi-do"??!! The good thing is that Kidman will never change her expression, so the "Test Audiences" will not get confused.
Ben Franklin on Jan 21, 2009
I think it should be clear to everyone that there is no way in hell Spielberg and Will Smith would remake this film anywhere remotely like the original. The plot is just too dark and twisted. There is no way Hollywood would touch it as it is. If they do remake Oldboy, I am 100% sure they will change so many major plot developments that would alter the entire second half of the film. The remake will be an entirely different type of story. I guarantee it. I just can't see any way Spielberg could make Oldboy at all palatable to the American masses without some serious reworking of the script.
MrSparkle666 on Feb 8, 2009
I don't understand this mentality. The original movie was hands down a masterpiece and uncopyable. Why don't they remake a movie that has potential to be better instead of trying to half-ass an original work. Seriously, Spielberg used to put some art in his film (Raiders of the lost Ark), but now it seems like he doesn't give a shit about the art aspect and wants to butcher the reputation of a great film.
Jake Barnabie on Feb 17, 2009
Unless they cast Gary Oldman, it might be somewhat interesting.
Jake Barnabie on Feb 17, 2009
this really upsets me. i pray that steven and will dont get the rights to remake this. i hope no one does. it doesnt need to be remade. at least give it to a director that could do a decent remake of it. i mean shit, tarantino praises this movie as one of the best. give it to him. he understands it and has much love and respect for the film. he'd probably do a better job than anyone else. but he also probably agrees that it doenst need to be remade and would just leave it alone. why do we keep ruining such great foreign films? can't we just leave them alone?
throwback on May 11, 2009
well. I can't wait to see hollywood style Old boy, but i bet It could't beat the original.
susan on Jun 27, 2009
Foreign filmmakers need to secure their rights to their works, so sad, sad stuff like remakes does not happen. And if americans wont read subtitles-their loss.
David Banner on Aug 3, 2009
Hmmm... needs Clive Owen or maybe even... (God don't strike me down), Christian Bale. Anything but Will Smith and his black ass. If they were to have a black guy, have Ice Cube (JK) but seriously, it would need someone like Javier Bardem or like aforementioned, Vin Diesel. If not, then definately not seeing.
Gumby on Aug 4, 2009
I have never seen the original so I won't say its a good or bad idea to remake it. I'm not a huge fan of remakes anyways.... But the facts are Spielberg is the greatest living director (yes better than Scorcesse) and he always dives deep into his stories and characters. Spielberg is not an idiot and knows his own capabilities. And for people talking about aliens all the time you are idiots because spielberg is much more than scifi. Just because he has made the best scifi movies of all time doesn't mean thats all he is if you have forgotten saving private ryan schindler's list amistad the color purple catch me if you can the terminal indiana jones munich and many more. Pull your heads out. As for Will Smith i will just agree haha. But the point is, don't rip spielberg because he has an amazing ability to tell a story and they are always very very well made in terms of all the below the line catagories. SUCK IT
david on Aug 18, 2009
If you want to look at this realisticly... Steven Spielberg created one of the best movies ever made (Schindler's list) along with many other classics and will probably do something at least relatively enjoyable by re-making old boy. I'm sure i'll like the original more than his version, but he's an absolutely amazing director who will come up with something to make this re-make good.
MrPounds on Sep 9, 2009
Speilberg's a hack! Go look up his movies, most of them are stupid, and made for retards. The only movies Speilberg takes seriously are the WWII movies, otherwise, you get: #Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) Sucks ass, and ruined the other movies. # War of the Worlds (2005) Lame, everybody fell asleep. # The Terminal (2004) I actually shot myself just to get out of finishing this disaster movie. # Catch Me If You Can (2002) This was okay. Performances made the movie. # Minority Report (2002) Sucks the mighty big one. Watching Tom Cruise doing mime, and then later chasing his eyeball around was embarrassing. # Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) Are you kidding? # The Unfinished Journey (1999) Unfinished Movie. # Amistad (1997) Speilberg mocking slavery showing it wasn't as important as WWII. # The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) More like "The Lost Brain" # Jurassic Park (1993) People like this movie more than me, I guess everybody likes dinosaurs. # Hook (1991) I'm not letting him off the hook for this sinker. # Always (1989) This movie will always suck. # Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) "Even Iyesh Thinksh Thish Movie Shucks"-Sean Connery. I mean, really?! That's 20 f'n years of shit minus WWII movies! THIS is the brilliant director you think of??!!! The worst part of about it, Spielberg has the ability to be great, but he depends on gimmicks, special effects, and dumbing down his movies to lowest common denominator!! He basically makes kids movies for adults. He's the bearded Disney. Do you really think he's going to take a Japanese "comic book cartoon movie" seriously like the original director did?! Especially with Will (don't call me Wil) Smith? Did anybody see Wild, Wild, West, or how about "I Am Legend" where the ENTIRE point of the movie was changed in the ending! Smith puts a lot of crap out there too. Do I really need to go through his movies too?? Maybe Adam Sandler and Dane Cook will be inspired to remake "Hard Boiled".
Ben Franklin on Sep 9, 2009
i guess this remake isnt happening, huh?
well... on Jun 17, 2010
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