Oldboy Remake in Holding Pattern
Lady Vengeance, the final installment of Korean director Park Chan-wook’s unofficial “vengeance trilogy,” may still be letting blood in domestic theaters, but it’s the 2004 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix-winning Oldboy, which grossed over $15 million internationally and caused an arthouse stir with its dark mix of sadism and surrealism, that Hollywood most has on its mind.
A strange and twisted tale that’s equal parts Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher and David Lynch, Oldboy centers on the quest for reprisal undertaken by a man held imprisoned for 15 years in a small efficiency apartment, and framed for his wife and daughter’s murder by someone he doesn’t even know. While cutting a bloody swath of revenge to and fro, he also tries to figure out the why behind his unusual punishment.
On the heels of the movie’s Stateside release last spring, Universal picked up the American remake rights, and rumors flew that Nicolas Cage was interested in starring in the film. Indie helmer turned studio hired hand Justin Lin, who has The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift set to drop next month, was bandied about as a possible director, and even contributed an unofficial story pitch that put him in the catbird’s seat. Unfortunately, that also put him squarely in the sights of vociferous, ankle-nipping detractors who want guarantees of a more idiosyncratic take on the project.
“The studio has it,” Lin recently told Now Playing magazine. “I’m still trying to…” Here he pauses judiciously. “We’ll see. It would really have to be the right situation. I know the situation I would like it to be, and if it’s not that, then they should find a great filmmaker to make it. It was one of those movies that blew me away. I have very strong opinions on it, and I haven’t come close to developing those to the point [where I’d] actually want to remake it yet. I’m very protective of that film.”
“There’s been lots of speculation out there, a lot of people trashing me,” Lin continues. “The terms would have to be right, and that’s an ongoing assessment. You don’t want to make a Xerox copy because the original is so brilliant. One day hopefully someone will cross that bridge, but right now nothing’s happening with it. If anything, it’s actually safely tucked away.”
Plotting its revenge, no doubt…