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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.