Recently, we’ve reported on two film remakes – Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols and David Mamet working on an English language version of Akira Jurosawa’s High And Low and screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski penning an update of the 1956 classic Forbidden Planet – that actually sound like promising projects.
Thankfully, Hollywood has decided to renew my assertation that nearly all films that try to remake a classic or foreign language film are fool’s errands with the announcement that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are currently in discussions to direct and star, respectively, in a remake of Korean filmmaker Chan Wook-Park’s phenomenal 2003 film Oldboy. According to a story in Variety, the pair are in early talks to take on the project.
Oldboy is the middle film of Wook-Park’s thematic “Vengeance Trilogy,” which examines the effects that revenge can have on a person. The film tells the story of a man abducted off the street and held prisoner in a small cell for 15 years, never given any explanation for his incarceration. Then, as suddenly and inexplicably as it began, he is set free. Stumbling back into a now unfamiliar world, he sets out to find how did this to him and why. Smith would play the incarcerated man in this new version.
I have to really wonder of Spielberg and Smith have actually bothered the film before they decided to undertake this. Without giving anything away about the twist and turns the film’s plot takes, it is definitely much darker material than either of them have ever attempted before. And one of the finale’s revelations goes to such a dark, scuzzy place that I don’t see a Hollywood movie attempting to follow. While Smith’s Hancock did have a dark streak to it, the shooting script they used had been considerably softened from its original form by Smith’s go-to script re-writer Akiva Goldsman. While Spielberg has not yet hired a writer for the project, I wouldn’t be surprised if Goldsman winds up in the mix. Which would certainly not bode well.
Last March, one of the other films in Wook-Park’s trilogy, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, has been optioned for an English language redo by Charlize Theron.