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Will Josh Brolin Say "Stop! Hammer Time!" In Spike Lee's OLDBOY Remake?

Published at: July 12, 2011, 4:22 p.m. CST by Nordling

Nordling here.

(Marking this article Spoiler in case a reader hasn't seen the original OLDBOY yet.  That poor bastard.)

Now that Spike Lee has been confirmed for the director's chair for OLDBOY, kudos to Twitchfilm for landing the scoop.  Now it looks like they may have landed another - Mandate Pictures is pushing hard for Josh Brolin to slurp up the octopus in the new film.  That's pretty good casting - Brolin can do the aging thing pretty well, since his character will spend 15 years in captivity.  That part would be a gift to any actor who decided to play it.  I'd love to see who plays the American equivalent of Woo-Jin Lee.  The chemistry between the two parts is essential and the article throws around names like Idris Elba and Aaron Eckhart, who would all be terrific in either role.

I just hope that the actor plays the role without ego and doesn't insist on changing up the darker nature of the character.  Oh Dae Su goes some pretty bleak places in the film and I feel pretty confident that there are many actors out there who just can't commit to the part because of that.  I don't see Denzel Washington fucking his own character's daughter in the film, for example.  There's just an extreme aspect to the character that will scare many established actors off.  If Josh Brolin is willing to go there, and Spike Lee is willing to take the audience there, it could make for some extraordinary filmmaking.

Obviously this is a film with a fervent fanbase - and I count myself as one of those fans - so any changes will be met with skepticism.  But in making the film for an American audience, things will probably get changed.  It's unlikely that mainstream audiences would accept the despair that Oh Dae Su ends up in - if it can't be punched away, they'll likely reject it.  But that's also what makes the film so very powerful.  In the end, Oh Dae Su is utterly destroyed by his nemesis, and if Lee twists the knife properly, at the very least, this film's going to be despised by Joe Moviegoer.  But for those of us who know art when we see it, this remake could be a transformative filmgoing experience.  Lots of possibilities and variables, and I don't blame fans for being concerned.  But Lee's an amazing filmmaker - even when he's off he's never less than interesting.  I just hope that Mandate gives him free rein with this project.

Nordling, out.

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