Roy Lee talks Oldboy, Battle Royale and Poltergeist
Roy Lee's production company has had a lot of success, and a fair amount of that success is with remakes, and while some of us might baulk at that word and turn our noses up let's not forget that he was a producer on the remake of Infernal Affairs (Filmstalker review), otherwise known as The Departed (Filmstalker review).
The remake plans have moved forward and they've been working on a remake of Oldboy (Filmstalker review) and Battle Royale for some time, but neither has really managed to make it. Oldboy has come close with some big names attached, but never quite made it. Now it seems this is its best chance.
The remake of Infernal Affairs gathered a fair degree of controversy as critics and writers just couldn't see how it could be made into a Hollywood film and be a successful one, however it was and it was far more successful than anyone believed possible. I'd go so far as to say it was better than the original and I still love watching it.
It's fair to say that Roy Lee and his production company haven't achieved the same success with all their films, but they have a strong list of films to their name including a good degree of remakes, and quite a few remakes of Asian films.
So it's been with interest that everyone has been watching the up and down news of a remake of the classic Oldboy (Filmstalker review), which hasn't always been welcome or positive, but has always been moving forward.
Speaking through Latino Review Roy Lee talked about the film and revealed that the script isn't anything like the previous ones delivered.
You might remember a while back in November 2008 - that long ago?! - when Steven Spielberg and Will Smith were looking at remaking the film, they were going to be going back to the original manga comics to bring the Oldboy stories to the screen, for the film version had changed a lot from the original and the intention was not to try and remake that story.
However Lee has revealed that this version will definitely not be the manga version, it is a remake of the film, which one would think would make it harder to do successfully, but it would seem they have it all mapped out.
"This is a brand new script by Mark Protosevich. It is very similar to the film, but Protosevich has added new elements 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 change the story but eventually go in the same direction. The ending will be something audiences--especially fans of the original movie--will be very happy with. Some may consider it a bit darker."
Now that is interesting, darker than the original? Well the original Oldboy had a very dark ending as it was, so what could they possibly have planned? I can take some guesses, but I'll leave that to you to do.
I would have thought focussing on the remake of the original would have lined them up for a lot of difficulty as that is where the real focus of the concern of critics and writers has been focussed, when the idea came for the manga adaptation there was a relaxing of the negativity for the idea.
However rather than run from that Lee is saying that they are going straight for it and even reveals that Spike Lee is set to tackle the iconic images from the original including the hallway fight sequence which Roy Lee hopes will be his signature moment in the film and has plans to...
"...show in a way that has never been seen in an action movie."
Now that is interesting. It's these kinds of comments and suggestions that win the critics over, and I have to say it is turning this film fan's switches for sure.
"I'm not exactly sure any studio --even before 'Hunger Games'-- would have taken the creative risks you would have needed to take. To make the movie right now so would be even harder."
I think if anything Hunger Games might help Battle Royale to get made. Now that the teen friendly version is coming perhaps studios who like to take more risks could see the potential for an adult version of the story, or rather the original story.
Roy Lee also mentioned another classic film being remade, but this one isn't Asian, it's American, Poltergeist. He reveals through ShockTillYouDrop that he's currently in talks with MGM about remaking the film, something that the excellent Vadim Perelman was once lined up to do.
He's definitely not a producer to take it easy in either workload or scope of projects, but his company have delivered before and there are certainly plenty of positive things coming out about Old Boy, I wonder if they could actually pull a Departed on this story?