One of the most controversial upcoming remakes currently in development is the American-made version of Chan-wook Park’s Oldboy. While the project has been in the works for years, originally going to be directed by Steven Spielberg and star Will Smith, the project has been revived in recent months, with Spike Lee officially set to direct and Josh Brolin attached to star. But how will the new movie connect to the South Korean original? Producer Roy Lee has cleared up some of those questions.
I recently had the chance to visit the set of one of Lee’s newest project, the airplane thriller 7500 and while talking to reporters the producer answered questions about the new Spike Lee joint. He started by telling us that production on the film is set to start in March, with a script written by Mark Protosevich. When asked about the approach the remake is taking, Lee said that the new movie will be similar, but will also introduce new ideas. Said Lee, “Mark Protosevich has come up with new elements to it that will throw off the audience who have seen the original movie because there are new characters and new situations that present themselves in a way that changes the story but eventually go in the same direction.”
One thing that fans can expect to change – at least a little – will be the ending of the movie, which is one of the most famous things about the Korean original (in case some of you haven’t seen it yet, I shall avoid spoilers). The producer insured us that fans should like the alterations. “The ending…the fans of the original will be very happy with,” Lee said. “In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker.”
The new movie will also have a version of the famous hallway scene, which saw the hero, Oh Dae-Su (Min-sik Choi) take down a hallway full of baddies with a hammer in a single shot. Lee said that the scene will likely be Spike Lee’s “signature moment in the movie.” Given the director’s tendency to put actors on dollies and make them glide through a scene, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what he has in store.
But Oldboy isn’t the only project currently on Roy Lee’s plate. During the same interview, the producer confirmed that they are still looking into new versions of both The Grudge and The Ring. For both titles they are currently developing scripts and meeting with writers to hear pitches on a new version of the story. One project that may not ever see the light of day, however, is the American remake of Battle Royale. Lee said that The Hunger Games “definitely took a lot of wind out of the sails because it definitely has a very similar storyline.” But even prior to the upcoming Suzanne Collins adaptation Lee says there were questions about whether or not the movie could ever be made. “I’m not even sure if before Hunger Games any studio would have been able to take the creative risks you need to make the movie right and now so would be even harder,” Lee said.
Another project that Roy Lee is excited about is the Poltergeist reboot, which has been in development for quite some time now. He’s currently in talks to produce the movie under MGM. Said the producer, “Hopefully next year that somebody will be able to accomplish.”