I’m going to keep this rather short because I don’t think at this point there’s much I can speculate about the Spike Lee remake/new version of Oldboy that I haven’t touched on a few times. The short version is that, working from a script by Mark Protosevich, Spike Lee has Josh Brolin set to play a guy who is kidnapped off the street and imprisoned for 15 years, only to be let out and teased about the identity of his persecutor.
Colin Firth was offered the role of that persecutor not long ago, and to my regret turned it down. The role is slightly more complex than your average angry thriller villain, and I think Firth could have brought a welcome depth.
Now, however, Twitch says that Lee is turning to his Inside Man leading man Clive Owen. The actor has been offered the part, but we don’t know if he’s going to jump for it.
There’s no need for an elaborate intro for Owen, and I think he could be just as good for the role as Firth would have been.
Moreover, unlike Firth, this is an actor who has been so very good in several films, but whom many filmmakers haven’t exactly figured out how to use to his best effect. Despite the fact that Owen has been around for ages, and anchored very highly regarded films such as Children of Men, I think there’s more he can do.
This role in Oldboy could be the bridge to higher prominence. I think Owen was great in Inside Man, so we’ve got that demonstration of a productive working relationship with Spike Lee. Because this is an antagonist role with some real pathos, but also a total current of madness, there’s a chance that, if he takes the role, Owen could end up being what people remember most about the film.