You may remember back in early July when director Spike Lee (Inside Man, 25 Hour, Do the Right Thing) announced his return to filmmaking with his upcoming remake of Korean director Park Chan-wook’s film Oldboy. The original movie, released in 2003, won the Grand Prize Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival the following year and remains a favorite of Asian cinema.
Mandate Pictures, who is distributing the upcoming remake, has released the following plot which more or less falls in line with Chan-wook’s film, itself an adaptation of a manga of the same name:
“OLDBOY tells the story of a man who is kidnapped and imprisoned on his daughter’s birthday. For fifteen years, he is held captive, and, upon his release, must begin his journey to find the reason for his imprisonment. He soon finds out that his kidnapper has plans for him more tortuous than his solitary confinement. The original film, released in 2003, directed by Chan-wook Park won the Grand Prize Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.”
What’s particularly exciting about the upcoming film are the casting choices, with Josh Brolin confirmed for the lead, Christian Bale as top contender for the villain role (though not officially confirmed), and Rooney Mara as first choice for the female lead. Mara, who is now one of the top actresses on the rise after her praiseworthy role in David Fincher’s The Social Network and her upcoming leading performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (also directed by Fincher), would play the female lead renamed Marie in Lee’s US version of the film.
Twitch Film, the news source which released this information, feels exceptionally confident that Mara will be involved in the upcoming movie, stating:
“While we should point out that this has not yet progressed to a formal offer we also point out that when Twitch broke the news about Josh Brolin’s potential involvement things were at this precise stage, meaning we have every reason to be confident in our sources here.”
Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) pens the script for the Oldboyremake with Doug Davison and Roy Lee producing, including elements of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film adaptation (starring Min-sik Choi), the original Japanese manga, and entirely new material.
Whether or not Spike Lee’s film will base his story predominantly from the film or the manga, remains an answer that will have to wait until its eventual tentative release in 2012. Regardless, fellow contemporary David Fincher’s decision to base his upcoming American adaptation of the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo exclusively from the late Stieg Larsson’s novel (with alleged alterations in the ending) rather than the original Swedish film points to a potential direction with which Lee can take and perhaps avoid the stigma of “Aw man, why does Hollywood have to make a remake of every good foreign movie?!”. But again, only time will tell.