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Oldboy remake status

06.26.2009

An American remake of South Korean director Park Chan-Wook's deservedly acclaimed OLDBOY has been in the works for a while, the whole time struggling like a live squid on a dish.

Steven Spielberg and Will Smith decided to make it their first big collaboration, but things started to look grim for the project when lawsuits over the property threatened to whack it with a claw hammer. But according to Reuters, the duo is moving forward with their version (which Smith has stated will be based more on the original manga), since the rights are a snarl that seems impossible to untangle.

The dizzying details of the legal matter goes something like this: "Futabasha, publisher of the manga by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya, has filed a case against Show East in Seoul, alleging the Korean company never had the right to negotiate a remake. The issue is further complicated by the fact that Show East has shut down and its CEO, Kim Dong-Ju, has disappeared. Big Egg, a co-producer of the ultra-violent revenge flick, has also closed up shop, and its former staffers are unreachable.

South Korean sales company Cineclick Asia, which represented Show East's OLDBOY in international territories, actually negotiated the remake deal with Universal. Universal brought in Roy Lee's Vertigo Entertainment, which has made a specialty of Asian film remakes, to produce the picture, and then Mandate acquired the rights from Universal.

DreamWorks, in one of its first moves in the wake of its November separation from Paramount, secured remake rights from Mandate, which remains involved in the project."

Got all that? The brutal 2003 revenge film starred Choi Min-sik as a man seeking payback when he's released from a mysterious 15-year captivity.

Extra Tidbit: Nic Cage once publicly expressed interest in the remake. But it was when he first got married to his Korean wife, so he might've just been absorbing and loving everything Korean (he also claimed that "kimchi is life").
Source: Reuters

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