I won’t hide the fact that I was one of the first people to scoff at the idea of anyone remaking Park Chan-Wook’s revenge thriller Oldboy. The Korean film has been heralded as a proper masterpiece, which is a universally accepted classification. Plus, I’ve seen too many of my favorite foreign films be remade with a dumbed down, Hollywood version ([REC]). That being said, there’s something different about Spike Lee’s Oldboy.
Lead actor Josh Brolin became extremely committed to the role, going as far as to ask Park Chan-Wook himself for permission to remake his movie, and the director’s response was simple: “You and Spike make your own film, don’t remake ours.“
Sure, some might interpret that statement as Park forbidding such a remake, but as I learned very quickly from talking to Spike Lee himself, those words resonated with him and his crew very deeply. The first time I mentioned the word “remake,” Spike was very quick to correct me and say that his Oldboy is a “re-imagining” – not a remake. Elizabeth Olsen also agreed with this statement, explaining how she only saw the original Oldboy after reading Mark Protosevich’s script.
Don’t forget, the first Oldboy wasn’t an original story either – it originally comes from Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi’s manga. That’s where Protosevich adapted his script from, providing Spike with a chance to do his own thing.
As I mentioned above, I was lucky enough to sit down with both director Spike Lee and actress Elizabeth Olsen to discuss what went into making this highly anticipated (and to some, highly questionable) film, and their input really drove home just how much they wanted to distance themselves from all the remake talk. Whether or not you agree will become known once Oldboy is released on November 27th.
Until then, check out our exclusive chat with Elizabeth and Spike in the video below and enjoy!