Spike Lee attached to Oldboy remake

The much-ballyhooed, long-stymied Oldboy remake finally has a director, and it's one of the more out-of-left-field options: Spike Lee. Mandate Pictures recently announced that they've officially pegged Spike as their choice for director of the long-awaited American remake of Chan-Wook Park's 2003 Korean revenge opus.

The announcement comes at an interesting time: Spike recently began filming Red Hook Summer, a movie that will see him resuming his role as Mookie from 1989's Do the Right Thing. This could turn out great, or could end up as an awful re-hashing of a definitive original work that should have been allowed to stand on its own. (See Clerks II.)

If you haven't seen it, the original Oldboy is pretty insane, all things considered. People get kidnapped and imprisoned for years, live squids are eaten, there's a claw hammer used for interrogation purposes, and it features probably the most mind-warpingly awful twist I've ever seen committed to screen. But it's a classic of the genre, and apparently screenwriter Mark Protosevich has already adapted a script for Spike to work with, so at least that's out of the way.

I have to say that I've got mixed feelings about this update. Spike certainly knows how to direct a tightly-wound thriller — Inside Man is a great example, awkwardly-shoehorned-in asides on racial profiling notwithstanding. But for a guy who's been in the news more for taking on Tyler Perry and less for making movies, Oldboy seems like a pretty big mountain to climb.

But at least I don't have to keep hearing rumors about Will Smith possibly playing the lead, like I did when Steven Spielberg was attached to direct. That shit was just unacceptable.

Tags Spike Lee

Commentarium (10 Comments)

Jul 12 11 - 1:39pm
completely

At least there's a slightly bigger chance he'll actually do something with it, rather than the shot-for-shot Americanizations we've been seeing recently (Let the Right One In, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc).

Jul 12 11 - 6:04pm
Scott

Did you get to go to a pre-screening of Dragon Tattoo? Last I checked, Fincher's isn't out until December.

Jul 13 11 - 1:24am
completely

Just the ads, but they seemed to be created to show just how much of a shot for shot remake it was.

Okay, better example: Funny Games.

Jul 12 11 - 2:05pm
Pah

I definitely screamed when I saw this. OldBoy remake?! I'll go to that midnight premiere.

Jul 12 11 - 5:29pm
D. Warner

People should just watch Oldboy. It's perfect. I love Spike, but unless this is better than the original (most likely impossible), I don't see the point.

Jul 12 11 - 5:39pm
Alex Heigl

Golf clap for Dave, everybody. I'm fully with you on that.

Jul 12 11 - 9:15pm
ugh

Plus, can't really imagine any Hollywood actors who could pull this off. (So far, the actors popping into my head are way too serious/humorless or too pretty with limited acting ability.) It just doesn't translate. I never laughed at such a vicious fight scene until Oldboy & I'm really skeptical that an American version could pull it off.

Jul 12 11 - 7:36pm
GAC

This remake is unnecessary, as was the Dragon Tattoo. They're excellent films on their own merits. Learn to love subtitles, people.

Jul 12 11 - 9:27pm
Jinna

Spike Lee. Meh.

Jul 13 11 - 2:45pm
julian.

I think Spike Lee could do a good job with it. Just because he is going to make his own version of it doesn't mean it will detract from the awesomeness of the original.