Sharlto Copley in Early Talks to Play Villain Opposite Josh Brolin in Spike Lee’s OLDBOY Remake

     April 12, 2012

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Spike Lee’s exhausting search for the villain in his Oldboy remake may have finally come to an end.  After previously offering the role to Christian Bale, Colin Firth, and Clive Owen—all of who turned the part down—Variety now reports that District 9 star Sharlto Copley has been offered the role and is in early talks to sign on.  Josh Brolin is set as the lead and Elizabeth Olsen is onboard in the lead female role of Lee’s take on Park Chan-wook’s classic revenge pic of the same name.  For those unfamiliar, Brolin plays a man who is abducted and imprisoned for 15 years, after which he’s inexplicably released and sent on a hunt to track down those responsible for his imprisonment.  Many unexpected twists and turns ensue.  Hit the jump for more, including my thoughts on Copley landing the role.

sharlto-copley-oldboyI was pretty high on the prospect of Bale, Firth, or Owen taking on the villain role, but I’m unable to muster the same enthusiasm for Copley.  He doesn’t strike me as menacing enough to play this truly troubled—not to mention dastardly—character.  That said, we don’t know how Lee’s iteration of the story differs from Chan-wook’s, so it’s not really fair to pass concrete judgments just yet.  I don’t doubt Copley’s acting ability (he was swell in District 9), he just doesn’t feel like the right choice for some reason.

Lee’s been having a lot of trouble casting the non-Brolin roles, so it is reassuring to see things finally come together.  Both Rooney Mara and Mia Wasikowska turned down the female lead, but I think Olsen is a great choice.  She’ll apparently be playing a caseworker tasked with helping Brolin investigate the villain’s past, which is slightly different than the original version of the character.  Copley will next be seen in District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi follow-up, Elysium, which opens in March of 2013.  Should he sign on, we should be hearing much more about Oldboy soon.

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