It looks like some legal action will stop what the outcry of thousands of Asian film fans could not- the proposed English language remake of Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s 2003 classic Oldboy. The film was set to
The film, the middle installment of the director’s thematic trilogy examining revenge, was adapted from a manga created by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. The manga’s publisher, Futabasha has filed suit against Show East, the production company that financed Oldboy, claiming that the Korean company did not have the right to sell the film’s remake rights.
Show East has had no response to this, because they have apparently shut down due to bankruptcy, and their CEO, Kim Dong-Ju has gone missing. Big Egg, who co-produced the film with Show East, have also closed down. However, Rueters is reporting that it was actually Cineclick Asia who negotiated the remake rights deal between Show East and Universal Studios, though they are not named in the suit.
For their part, Futabasha doesn’t really believe that Show East is broke, having initiated legal proceedings last week. “”We haven’t been able to confirm that Show East is bankrupt, and at this stage we’re not sure what effect this will have on the legal case,” said a Futabasha spokesperson in Tokyo.
As of right now, Universal and Dreamworks has no official statement on the lawsuit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if all development on the project has been halted until the suit is setteled. Back at the beginning of the year, the release of Watchmen was almost scutteled when 20th Century Fox filed suit against the comic book adaptation’s producers Warner Brothers, claiming that they, Fox, still owned the rights to distribute such any film created from the graphic novel. If an agreement hadn’t been reached, Warners could have concievably been out the film’s $130 million dollar budget. It would be wise for them to hold off until the legal dust overseas has setteled,
When it was first announced that Spielberg and Smith were looking at remaking the film, fans of the film were, to put it mildly, not enthused. The film, in which a man is kidnapped and kept locked in a cell for 15 years with no explanation before being just as suddenly released, is a dark story and features a plot point at the end that no Hollywood film would ever dare try to replicate. (I won’t reveal it here, but instead encourage you to seek out the film on DVD.) Spielberg has stated that his and Smith’s version of the film would be more faithful to the original manga, which didn’t incorperate the climactic, shocking plot point. As the finale is what really drives the film’s overall impact, both on a thematic and very visceral, viewing experince level, it seems odd that one would choose to not use it. But then again, it is such a shocking element, I can see where Spielberg and Smith would not want to harm their relatively squeeky-clean public images with it.