Confirmed: Spike Lee To Direct OLDBOY Remake

Before he takes on the Korean revenge tale, he will reprise his role of Mookie in Red Hook Summer - a sequel of sorts to his iconic film Do The Right Thing that began shooting today!

Updated: Mandate Pictures have sent out a press release today confirming the news that Spike Lee will produce and direct the Hollywood remake of Oldboy, which you can now expect to be a watered down, less threatening Americanized version that will probably star Denzel Washington or Will Smith and will be a summer revenge blockbuster. Perhaps it might even be a film for the whole family, who knows? If we are really lucky it might star an Idris Elba... but it won't.
Los Angeles (July 11, 2011) €“ Mandate Pictures announced today that Spike Lee (Inside Man) will direct OLDBOY, a remake of the highly-acclaimed South Korean film. Mark Protosevich has adapted the screenplay and will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison (The Departed, The Grudge) will produce. The film is a Vertigo Entertainment/40 Acres & A Mule Production. Mandate President Nathan Kahane will executive produce.€œIt€™s a great honor to put this special project into the hands of such a gifted writer and iconic director,€ said Kahane.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.
In other, much more interesting Spike Lee related news - Blackfilm reported earlier today that Lee would be reprising his role as Mookie from his iconic 80's film Do The Right Thing for a new project, a sequel of sorts titled Red Hook Summer. The super, super low budget indie film began shooting very early this morning, which we know via a Spike Lee tweet;
"Wake Up. I been up since 430am. On the way to the set of THE NEW SPIKE LEE JOINT.Today is 1st Day of Shooting.Awwwwwwwwwwww Sheeeeeeeeeeeeet,€
The movie will be about an Atlanta kid who ends up spending a summer in the hood and I don't know about you but I'm stoked to see where Mookie is now two decades on. Certainly more stoked than we are about his Oldboy remake. ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOLLOWS - Twitch Film reported last night that Spike Lee has entered talks to direct the long-gestating Hollywood remake of the 2003 Korean cult classic Oldboy, Chan-wook Park's revenge thriller that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith came very close to making a few years ago. Setup at Mandate, this is the very same project, based on new script by the same scribe Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend) and which we were told once was more of an adaptation of the Manga comics than a shot-for-shot remake of the 2003 film but that may well have changed. There's no word if Will Smith is still eyeing the lead role but considering he just turned down the controversial, mature themed title character in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, I think we can safely say it would be very unlikely he will be wielding the hammer. Why Spike Lee thinks it's a good idea to Americanize Oldboy and whether he is fooling himself into thinking a Hollywood major would give him the freedom to go where he needs too for it to be 1/10th as effective is anyone's guess but an English-language remake of every foreign hit is only a matter of time. Especially Oldboy which has such a compelling and disturbing story that no Hollywood writer would ever be allowed to develop. If Joe Bloggs had turned in a screenplay for Oldboy to Universal or Paramount for instance in 2000, they would have been told "too dark, we can't make this" but under the umbrella of a remake, when they realise there is an audience for it, Hollywood are more than happy to accommodate now. For those familiar with the original, will the power of the punch of the surprises and how the story horrifyingly twists and turns carry over a second time? No... a remake will only be interesting for those unfortunate enough not to have seen the original and you would be fooling yourself not to believe Hollywood will totally re-work the second/third act. Spike Lee is of course a talented director and his work in the 90's would match anyone's but recently he's had a tough time getting a movie financed after very few people bothered with his WWII picture Miracle at St. Anna. So has he got the idea to remake Oldboy just because it was a project he could attach himself too just to get him working again? That's really sad if so. As I said in November 2008 when news of Smith/Spielberg's attempt to make a new Oldboy emerged and which is just as apt now;
What can you say? We all know it ain€™t going to work. I hate to dismiss a big Hollywood project from this early a stage but I will eat a live octopus if this movie ends up being anything but a disaster.

Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.