Film School Rejects hit the red carpet for the Seven Pounds premiere and asked Will Smith about his proposed teaming with Steven Spielberg to do an American version of Park Chan Wook’s Oldboy. Not so fast, says Smith. They’re not remaking the movie after all.
“There’s the original comics of ‘Oldboy’ that they made the first film from. And that’s what we’re working from, not an adaptation of the film…”
And therein lies the rub. The Old Boy manga (have we ever settled on whether it’s Old Boy or Oldboy? I’m using two words for the manga, one for the Korean movie) has the same basic concept – dude gets imprisoned (for ten years in the comic instead of fifteen) for no reason by a mysterious person. When he gets out he seeks revenge, and has to look into his own past to figure out who he wronged and why they would want to punish him. But the manga and the movie diverge mightily from there. There’s no live squid eating. There’s no tooth torture. And there’s no incest.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the spin. Since the new movie is based on the manga, which nobody in America has read, and not the movie, which I bet every single person involved in this new version has seen and likely owns on DVD, it doesn’t have to include the edgier stuff that makes Oldboy so obviously not in the Smith and Spielberg wheelhouse. And, as a bonus, when they cut the edgier stuff they can claim they’re just being true to the source material! I can’t wait to be annoyed by this answer at the junket.
So I guess this settles it all – the American Old Boy won’t be offending anybody and will instead be a pretty standard noir/revenge story where Will Smith has to track down the guys who done him wrong, and we never have to worry that he’s going to do something really terrible like nail his daughter or cut out his own tongue. America, you’re safe.