The possibility of an American remake of South Korean revenge film Oldboy has been a worrisome thing for a few years now. But this year Spike Lee was tapped to direct, which immediately made the new Oldboy a more attractive, or at least a more interesting proposition. With Josh Brolin set to star and Colin Firth playing the film’s revenge-seeking antagonist, things are looking petty damn good.

We know that Mark Protosevich is scripting and that he is basing his take on the existing movie, as well as on the manga that inspired it, but that he’s also writing new material to make this version stand on its own to some extent. We still don’t have concrete details about the new ingredients, but the film’s producer says that some of the new stuff is being created specifically to throw off audiences who know the original film.

In an interview with Collider, producer Roy Lee says that the new film is very similar in some ways to the Park Chan-Wook version, but that,

Mark Protosevich has come up with new elements to it that will throw off the audience who have seen the original movie because there are new characters and new situations that present themselves in a way that changes the story but eventually go in the same direction.

I’m concerned about adding characters and elements specifically to mess with the audience that is aware of the existing movie. The film that many of us know and love works specifically because it is an organic thing in which there are curveballs thrown at the audience, but ones which make sense in the context of the film’s story. I’m apprehensive about the idea of creating new stuff that exists only to toy with the audience, but we’ll see how that works out.

Lee also says that there is a “sort of different interpretation of that hallway scene” that they hope will turn out to be Spike Lee’s signature moment in the movie, much as the original hallway fight was a signature aspect of the existing film.

And those worried about whether or not the ending will be watered down in comparison to the Park Chan-wook film shouldn’t worry, as Lee insists,

The ending will be something that the audiences will all be…especially the fans of the original will be very happy with. In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker.

He also says a new version of The Grudge is being explored (as we knew), as is The Ring 3. And, for those who had any lingering concerns about an American remake of Battle Royale, it looks like The Hunger Games will serve in that respect for now:

Hunger Games definitely took a lot of wind out of the sails because it definitely has a very similar storyline and so I’m not actually sure if any studio…I’m not even sure if before Hunger Games any studio would have been able to take the creative risks you need to make the movie right and now so would be even harder.

Oldboy should shoot in March 2012.

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