When it was announced a year ago this week that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith were entertaining the idea of teaming for an English language version of the Japanese manga Oldboy, many Asian film fans wondered what these two could bring to the material that would be better than what Korean director Chan Wook-Park did with his 2003 cinematic adaptation. Well, such musings will forever remain speculation, as Latino Review is reporting that the project is now dead. Latino Review had no other information on what killed the project except that Spielberg’s Dreamworks shingle was having trouble securing the rights to the property.
This really doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Back in June, we told you that the negotiations for the remake had stalled when a lawsuit erupted between the publishers of the original manga and the producers of Wook-Park’s film as to the ownership of the film rights that Spielberg, Universal and Dreamworks wanted.
In addition to Smith being attached to the project as the star, scripter Mark Protosevich had been assigned the task of adapting the mateial into a screenplay. It is unknown whether he actually started work or not.