Spike Lee Confirmed to Direct OLDBOY Remake

     July 11, 2011


Looks like everything is coming up Spike Lee.  On the heels of the news that he was underway on shooting the indie feature Red Hook Summer, Mandate has sent out a press release confirming that he’ll direct the remake of Chan-wook Park’s South Korean revenge thriller Oldboy.  Lee will direct from a screenplay by I Am Legend screenwriter Mark Protosevich.  For those unfamiliar with the original film, it’s about a man who is held captive for 15 years even though he doesn’t understand the reason for his capture or unexpected release.

While I’m baffled by what a remake could bring the table when the original film is so incredible, at least Mandate has gotten a real filmmaker like Lee on board and I’m at least interested to see his take on the material.  Hit the jump for the press release.

Here’s the press release:




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.

“It’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.

Spike Lee and Mark Protosevich are represented by CAA.  Dan Freedman, SVP of business affairs, negotiated the deals for Mandate.

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  • turk 189

    Spike who? Pass, thanks.

  • dpramroop

    i hate oldboy, not because i think its a bad movie but because, well you guys know why

    • Zab

      Not a fan of the old incest? :P

      • dpramroop

        yea, after i saw that i felt like throwing up

  • Ryan

    Spike Lee is an acceptable enough filmmaker, but, he’s an awful racist. So, I find this sad. I love Oldboy, and I’d probably not watch the remake on principle, but I most definitely won’t now.

    • Jason

      If he’s an “awful racist” then what do you call the majority of white film makers and producers in Hollywood? “Really, really awful racists?”

      • Darick

        Last I checked there aren’t a lot of white filmmakers out there talking about how horrible black people are. Spike on the other hand is a hate monger. The problem isn’t that the movie is being made by a black person, the problem is that it’s being made by Spike Lee who is a racist.

        Besides that he’s a bad filmmaker. Also there’s no reason to remake something that is already perfect.

      • T. Van

        @ Jason

        Be careful, as you’re asking questions which have answers that generate cognitive dissonance among some on this board. Additionally, it won’t take much more than a day for the label placed on Spike Lee to put on you (thus digressing the conversation into 3rd grade-level banter), with one person creating multiple avatars in an attempt to create the impression that there is support for his/her own point.

      • T. Van

        @ Darick

        Although I’ve enjoyed a number of Lee’s films, I respect your right not to like them. However, I have to disagree with your misrepresentation of his world view.

        To wit, one could do the same with:
        1) Quentin Tarantino = Reservoir Dogs (Mr. Pink’s diatribe)
        2) Francis Ford Coppolla = Godfather 2 (“they have no souls”)
        3) Rian Johnson = Brick (the oversexed Black girl, the ‘pain the neck’ Black athlete)

        To say that one may find those scenes problematic is one thing. To say that Tarantino, Coppolla and/or Johnson are “hate-mongers” would be going way too far.

        By the same token, placing that label on the director of a movie that (as one example) highlights Malcolm X’s transformation into a leader who would accept a kinship people from all different backgrounds is also beyond the pale. Would you not agree?

      • Jason

        Funny Darick. Last time I checked Spike Lee hadn’t taken away work from most white actors in Hollywood to the point where they are hardly ever seen in mainstream movies, TV, etc…

        What do you call the film makers and producers (which includes Kevin Spacey) of 21? It was a film that was based on the true story of Asian Americans and instead of getting an Asian lead they hired a white actor from England.

        What do you call Ben Affleck who in his new upcoming movie that is based on a real life CIA mission that was lead by Latino American Tony Mendez casted himself instead of giving the opportunity to a Latino actor who hardly ever get roles in Hollywood?

        What do you call the Hollywood machine that keeps producing insulting and tiring “white savior” movies over and over again (e.g. The Blind Side, the upcoming “The Help”, James Cameron’s Avatar, etc…) but doesn’t seem to be so interested in making movies where nonwhites are the main heroes?

        What do you call the mainstream media that only seems to favor women of color if they have “white friendly features” (e.g. Haley Berry, Rashida Jones, etc…) but if they have darker skin and more defined African features they are not in demand so much?

        What do you call an industry that gives lead roles to white actors 82% of the time even though at least 40% of the ticket buyers in the US are nonwhite?

        Spike Lee has said some stupid comments (e.g. the whole criticism of Clint Eastwood) but that doesn’t overshadow the good that he has done and even the comments he has made that highlight Hollywood’s stereotyping (e.g. “The Magical Negro”) . As far as questioning his film making skills, I highly doubt you are saying that with an open mind. There have been films that he has made that I haven’t cared for but he has also made some excellent films IMO and his film making is top notch, which is also the case for a lot of directors I enjoy. Also, Lee has tapped into many genres and different kinds of film. His documentaries for example are fantastic.

  • Andy

    I am not a big fan of Spike Lee films. His eclectic viewpoint is hard to figure out and most of his movies are just plain bad.

    Why re-make a movie that was good enough to stand on its own?

    I’ll pass.

  • Edward Lee

    A Spike Lee film? That means I definitely won’t see it. I try to avoid films made by racists.

    • Jason

      Then I assume you don’t watch the majority of films that come out of Hollywood made by white film makers then?

    • Vicious

      Obviously, you need a lesson on the history of the USA. You probably chose not to remember the history of slavery. Fighting racism doesn’t make one a racist. Your reverse psychology is totally absurd.

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  • !_!

    its sad that this article didnt even mention the manga only that crapp south korean film.

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  • MC ATTAck

    Noooooooooooo! F…You Spike or whoever is involved!

  • Nathaniel

    Well at least it isn’t Brett Ratner.

  • T. Van

    Having seen Spike Lee’s world view expand over the years (as reflected in numerous interviews as well as a public presentation I attended a few years back), I’m curious as to what he and Protosevich have got in store for us.

    It’s just too bad that he won’t be able to weave baseball and jazz into the structure of this movie :-)

  • Damnyou

    Oldboy is my favorite movie and i don’t want that racist director to touch this movie, i bet he will cast a black actor in the lead because we all know that he only cares for his own race…

    • Jason

      Hilarious. People posting under multiple accounts so that they can give the impression that most think Spike Lee is “racist”. How desperate! lol!

  • Alex

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Anything but Spike Lee!!!

  • wacko3205

    I don’t really care to get into a “racial back & forth” with anyone…but I haven’t enjoyed anything from Lee outside of Inside Man, Malcolm X, & Miracle @/of St Anna.

    I don’t know…he’s just never appealed to me that much.

    The thing is, or my main problem with Lee is, that he seems to constantly focus/make his bread & butter on the downfalls of the black race. Its always how much they’ve been wronged & oppressed…but then if another director has the audacity to approach the subject…he pulls the ego card & screams that its being misinterpreted or misrepresented. As if he’s the only one who can breach the thresh hold of the subject matter…& lord forbid anyone use the notorious N word (which is, honestly, an annoying word in our society) that’s not black. Honestly…its always seemed to me that the man uses that word as a circumstantial convenience.

    As far as Hollywood being racist…nah…I don’t agree with that…its just the amount of subject matter that’s hard for white guilt to accept.

    You gotta admit…its a whole lot easier for most white parents to sit through a mindless film watching robots destroying the human race with their seven year olds than trying to explain away U.S. history over popcorn, candy, & sodas.

    No joke…its impossible to make my daughter understand Pocahontas, much less a film of early settlers kidnapping & shackling an entire race & dragging them from continent to continent.

    I mean really.

    That being said…I don’t consider Lee as much of a racist as I do an elitist whom, at the end of the day, I totally loathe his work.

    But that’s just me & my opinion probably counts as less than half of anyone else’s who banters back & forth here with foul words & witty comments.

    At the end of the day…Spike’s just as rich & prolific a figure as many other directors of this generation & he sure as hell get’s more out of Denzel than any other lense-smith on the planet. On top of that…I don’t think that Clive Owen has ever been any better than he was with Lee.

  • wacko3205

    Also…why is it okay for every white actor in a “Spike Lee Joint” to sling the N word like a ball bat…but if Tarantino’s black actors use the word during dialogue, banter, or some violent back & forth (just as Lee does) its a damned primal sin. Both QT & Lee’s own black actors accept & acknowledge that its ridiculous.

    Its odd…I’ve got a group of 5 silver screen junkies & we all used to gang up (we all got married…so that’s over & done with now. Heh heh.) to sit thru reel after reel & if it was a Tarantino flick (because we all loved those) we’d generally lose one or two prior to the middle of the film…& these were the white guys. It was insane. Seriously…they just couldnt hack it. I just don’t get it…but I suppose I never will.

    My two African American (my brothers or boys as they dubbed themselves) loved it & seeing them observing the audience…we’d pick the bailers…& that was all due to white guilt. Why does everyone try to make such an issue over it? If I ask…& they ask…surely its not something that everyone goes into the cinema dwelling on?

  • wacko3205

    All that being said…I don’t think Spike’s the right choice for Oldboy…but to be honest…I don’t think that anyone is the right choice.

    This one shouldn’t be touched.

    • Jason

      “As far as Hollywood being racist…nah…I don’t agree with that”

      Then you are quite ignorant. Hollywood’s practices are clearly racist when ones does the research. I recommend going to websites like racebending and racialicious to educate yourself.

      I am not going to go point by point on what you wrote because then I will be here all day, but I will comment on one specific comment you made:

      “Also…why is it okay for every white actor in a “Spike Lee Joint” to sling the N word like a ball bat…but if Tarantino’s black actors use the word during dialogue, banter, or some violent back & forth (just as Lee does) its a damned primal sin. Both QT & Lee’s own black actors accept & acknowledge that its ridiculous. ”

      Why are you talking about only the black characters in QT’s movies? What about the white ones? When does QT’s own character in Pulp Fiction ever get reprimanded for saying “dead nigger storage” in the movie? When does Steve Buscemi get blasted for his “acting like a bunch of niggers” comment in Reservoir Dogs?

      It’s very telling that you are the same person who doesn’t believe Hollywood is racist (despite all evidence in terms of casting process, subject matter of movies, etc… proving so) and also happen to try to defend QT for his past immature use of racial slurs in movies.

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  • iamtryingtobelieve

    I would like to see Spike Lee work on another thriller that focuses more on the characters, their interactions, and the story while sprinkling it with bits of his trademark viewpoints, a la Inside Man, as it worked fantastically in that film. He got to say his bit, but didn’t strangle the story with it. I can see where working on Oldboy would allow him to do that.

    However, I still think this is a bad idea, I don’t see a connection between the material & the filmmaker, but maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  • Chris

    Oh, great, well what controversial stuff will Spike Lee put into this movie, is this going to turn into a racial situation. Hopefully he doesn’t cast himself in any roles because frankly he can’t act. Will there be hammering home of a message, a lot of shouting,swearing, racial name calling? Please, can’t someone else direct it. Is this going to be a disaster like Miracle at St. Anna, will Lee start questioning other directors when its shown at the Cannes? When it doesn’t win any awards will he blame other movies for the fact that it lost like Driving Miss Daisy? Why let a egotist directed this movie? Why let a douchebag directed this movie? A person who often thinks his view is the correct one over others. He has done some good movies, but god what a aggorant little prick of a director. Not that other directors and actors are any different but he always manages to find his way onto the public radar with the stupid head up ass crap he often says. It has nothing to if he is black or white, I just think he’s the wrong person to direct this.

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  • the ten

    great another great film that wil be destroyed by a racist director.let me guss the hero will be black and the villans(all of them)will be white.Think i will pass on this one.

  • Jack

    I wish I could understand whether is stupidity or ignorance that causes people to call someone racist or criticise them for pointing out the harsh reality that is the racist world we live in. I’m a white man and my fiancée is mixed race and since being with her I can’t believe the amount of crap she has to deal with both racial and sexist that many people similar to some of the ppl that have posted on here claim to not exist. It’s a sad fact that the world will never be equal because the idiots keep breeding and passing on their stupidity