Will Smith's Oldboy is Actually Based on the Graphic Novel

November 21, 2008
Source: Film School Rejects

Oldboy Manga

When the news first hit two weeks ago that Will Smith and Steven Spielberg were remaking Chan-wook Park's Oldboy, the reaction was severe. "Worst idea ever," they cried out. "Just leave it alone and come up with another story." Well it seems we might not need to be so worried after all, as the guys over at Film School Rejects ran into Will Smith earlier today and were able to get some much needed clarification about the project. Smith said that they're not actually looking at remaking Park's film, instead they're going all the way back to the original source material - the Japanese manga that Park's film was based on. Huh?

"There's the original comics of Oldboy that they made the first film from. And that's what we're working from, not an adaptation of the film," Smith told the Rejects. Oldboy is actually based on a manga series written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. It was first published in 1996, well before Chan-wook Park's 2003 cinematic adaptation. Much like the live-action Akira in the works, this American version is drawing specifically from those comics rather than the movie that we're all much more familiar with. But will that mean Spielberg and Smith's version will be that much different from the original anyway?

Dark Horse Comics recently translated the manga and brought it to America (you can pick up some volumes of it on Amazon). However, it's apparently quite similar to the film itself: "The same scene is shown from different angles; the same focus is approached or departed from in ever closer or more distant panels that mimic moving-camera effects; and the degree and sources of light in the panels vary dramatically." However great the differences may indeed be, it sounds like we won't be seeing a direct remake of Park's Oldboy film, which might be quite a big relief to some. Does this make any difference to you?

Find more posts: Movie News, Opinions



can't we just be excited smith and speilberg are working together? that's momentous!

fanboy d on Nov 21, 2008


...if you're going from original source material, then it makes a difference. u feel a little more inclined to take a baby step back, and through a bitten lip, wait for the out come. american film makers tend to INCREDIBLY bad remakes, departed being the last one that comes to mind for me, but this does put me more at ease. i can sit back on my seat, a little further back from my mac screen, and not feel quite so emotional. smith and spielberg both know what an incredible piece of work park did, and i'm more than sure they are aware of the misgivings a lot of fans will have about them undertaking this. as long as they don't hollywood it up, they'll be fine... lol! its good to know that akira is being approached in the same way. although i still believe that may just be an undertaking too far! again though, with the plan being to adapt from the original manga comics, and the idea being to build the story over 2 movies...this could fly.

Tee Max on Nov 21, 2008


Will Smith is the most overated actor around! How many good films has he done, Pursuit of Happiness, thats it! All the others are OK, but not great. I am legend and enemy of the state were ok. I, Robot in my opinion is just bad interpretation of the book.

Beetle on Nov 21, 2008


What if someone remade Jurassic Park, not focussing on the film, but taking the novel as the source material. It wouldn't made the slightest bit of difference.

Angelo on Nov 21, 2008


The manga started out awesome and kept you hanging on the question "Why has this happened to him",... but it shys away from being exciting with it's matter-of-fact second half and ending.

L on Nov 21, 2008


mr smith did more than a good job in ail...?! anyway manga and anima works, because the people making it don't have the mindset of the west. because of this, its an as yet untapped area for hollywood. there's very little original out there, and with the rise in quality with computer graphics, this easy meat for them. i'm a manga fan! straight up and down. but lets be real! the likelihood is, these people are gonna make these movies. so the least we can hope for is that they do a decent job, WHILE they're going around butchering these amazing pieces of imaginative exploration. if we as movie lovers, could veto films before they were even made, a number of great movies would never have been made!

Tee Max on Nov 21, 2008


OH! 'angelo'! don't u think if a korean director re-made jurassic park, u don't believe they wouldn't be a better job?! like...a MUCH better job?!! there's no freakin' way these people would've got off the island, if it was done the way it should've been. lol!

Tee Max on Nov 21, 2008


Well, i have only read one volume of the comics, but to me, it seemed to have a much lighter tone than the movie.

9mm on Nov 21, 2008

9 This is what I think of the idea.

Shannon on Nov 21, 2008


When, oh when, will Hollywood start pushing original productions. So sick and tired of the words adaptation and the similar ilk. Let's not forget the worst of them, 're-imaging'.

Mike on Nov 21, 2008


Word to that where the fuck are the original scripts.

Cody on Nov 21, 2008


Beetle lets be Serious here. If you don't like will you don't like will. But you have to give him his just do. Over the past lets say 8 yrs every movie he's made has grossed higher then any actor in the game, so he's doing something right.

marty#21 on Nov 21, 2008


@#3 I liked I, Robot very much! But that's probably I didn't read the book. Men In black was good also. Will Smith is good for the popcorn/mainstream movie type, so maybe that's why you don't like him.

Samm on Nov 21, 2008


Yes, OLDBOY was based off a manga by the same name. Now everybody knows. (At least they do here.) Even so, the majority out there are still going to ask the question "who did it better" because the Korean version was so loved. Spielberg & Smith may create a more accurate portrayal than the first movie, but can that possibly top the first adaption? We'll have to wait a see.

Noemi on Nov 21, 2008


I don't think Spielberg & Smith can show a gore reality like the Korean version, the movie is amazing and really hit you in the brain, im not see spielberg make the "incest, suicidal performace" from OLD BOY.

AndrU on Nov 21, 2008


Call me crazy but he looks alot like Will Smith in some way.

Ali on Nov 21, 2008


well, at least it's spielberg that's going to butcher this already sufficiently awesome work, and not, like, jj abrams or some shit.

nick on Nov 21, 2008


#16 You're totally right. I thought it was concept art modeled after him at first.

Carl Denham on Nov 21, 2008


OH PLEASE you going to make it g-rated to better suit mr. smith's personality??? or you are just saying that it is based from the manga series so that you would feel that you didnt copy from the film? apples and oranges, both of them are still fruit

Paprika on Nov 21, 2008


#8 you are completely right. The main character (who's name escapes me) is pretty level headed through the whole story.

L on Nov 21, 2008


@ #9: LOL. The idea of a remake of the Oldboy movie seemed pretty bad at the beginning. After this news... it still looks bad to me... please just follow my reasoning: When I watched the first "Wanted" trailer, I liked it so much that I read the comic (original source). Bad, bad, bad idea. Then I watched the movie when it came out, I hated it. It's a rather good action movie with Angelina Jolie in it, so it wasn't that bad. But It drifts WAY away from the original material. No maniacally-killing-just-for-the-heck-of-it Wes, no you-witnesed-my-dead-but-i'm-not-really-dead dad, no world without heroes or people with erased memories, wes didn't even killed the guy that beat him almost to death, and that was awesome on the comic (killing him with the leg of the chair). So that's my reason for not liking this project, it doesn't matter that they are using the original material as source, it matters how much they'll walk away from that material in their adaptation process.

Moreira on Nov 21, 2008


..........I still think this is a horrible idea, it just sounds pointless. I hope they decide to skip this idea, cause it sounds like it going to suck big ones.

buddhistwisdom7 on Nov 22, 2008


it still sucks.

smacky on Nov 23, 2008


Well from what I've heard there is no incest in the manga. Which is of course what every fan of the movie was so sure that Spielberg and Smith wouldn't have to balls to put in the remake. And we were all right (assuming that it is true that there is no incest in the manga).

MBD on Dec 3, 2008


Have any of you actually read the manga? It isn't all that great. It's not nearly as violent or controversial as the film adaptation, and it's finale is about as shocking as an episode of Days of Our Lives. If they really plan on going through with making a strict adaptation of the Japanese manga and not the Korean movie, we are in for a huge disappointment.

tyler on Dec 7, 2008


Typical...research a topic before you write it up, damn it! The Manga and (korean) Movie are very different(maybe you should have read it, instead of researching on wikipedia ^^). Goto(the main character in the manga) is for example not a husband and father. He is also not accused of murdering his wife(since he's not married). The manga has nothing at all to do with incest(neither between the one he is up against nor between him and his daughter). Goto doesn't kill anyone in the manga. There are some similarities between them, the food which he tracks down, the hypnotism, or that he and his foe are enemies for instance, but nothing significant. Above all, Goto(from the Manga) and Oh Dae-su(Movie) are nothing alike. Goto is a mentally strong person after his imprisonement, living on with the hope of getting out and finding out why he was put into that room. Oh Dae-su is a wreck. Playin and simple! 😀 @Comment 25, Tyler Of course it wasn't great for you, if all you look for is action and bloodshed. But it is drawn well and the psychological pressure on Goto is transfered to the reader well in my opinion. If you can't appreciate that it's your own fault). The movie was good in it's own way, but the only thing they really have in common is the theme and the setting. So...IMHO, if Spielberg and Smith can manage to take the manga and not take it line by line, but give it maybe a better ending(the one in the manga was a bit dissapointing(though that was only the last 2 chapters), I'll definetily watch it, and I'll probably like it...I'm a sucker for Revenge-Scenarios! 😉 Kudos Mike

Mike on Jan 30, 2009


Another completely pointless remake. Its already an amazing movie, just like Infernal Affairs was already an amazing movie before they remade it shot for shot into the Departed. Will Smith and Spielberg remaking this movie makes me want to retch. It just seems so silly to remake a movie that is only a few years old and completely accessible to American audiences already.

Nate on Aug 24, 2009

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