Call me a heretic, but when given the opportunity to watch the original foreign version of a film or the American remake, I’ll usually pick the remake – unless it’s a remake of a Japanese horror movie or a European comedy. It’s not that I don’t like foreign films. I simply prefer the polished, refined versions that American filmmakers tend to release. I enjoy ‘Let Me In‘, ‘Vanilla Sky’ and ‘The Departed‘ more than their original predecessors. I also believe that an Americanized ‘Oldboy‘ is a great idea. And now it’s finally happening.
Shortly after moving to Utah, ‘Oldboy’ was the very first film I saw at the Sundance Film Festival. Because of that, I have a certain love for the movie. Not only is it a beloved “first” for me, but it’s one hell of an awesome movie.
A lot of online news posts in 2008 and 2009 talked about the now-aborted remake project that Steven Spielberg was set to direct and Will Smith set to star in. Instead of being a remake of the 2003 South Korean film, the Spielberg/Smith version was rumored to follow the incest-less source material, a manga of the same name. When DreamWorks and Mandate were unable to settle their creative differences, DreamWorks walked and project fell dead – until now.
It was announced last week that Mandate is moving the project forward with newly-attached director Spike Lee at the helm. While I’ve enjoyed Lee’s ‘Malcolm X’, ‘Do the Right Thing‘, ’25th Hour’, ‘Inside Man‘ and ‘When the Levees Broke’, I’m leery of how the project will fare in his hands. Considering how much the subject of racial tension plays out in each of his films, I can only imagine what twists and turns will replace the incest of the original.
Now that Lee is attached to direct, it’s highly unlikely that Will Smith will remain as the lead actor, due to some bad blood in their histories. Back in 2001, Lee publicly bashed Smith for his role as the stereotypical “Super-Duper Magical Negro” in ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’.
Whether you like it or not, ‘Oldboy’ is being remade. Although I’m skeptical of how it will turn out, casting will either solidify or calm my fears. If strong actors with solid credits are cast, then I truly believe the film can be pulled off successfully. But if the cast consists of no-names and will-work-for-food actors, it may be a train wreck.
With Will Smith unlikely to return, who do think should fill the role?
[Via Screen Rant]