FIRST LOOK: 'Old Boy' Teaser Poster Counts The Days & Raises Questions

Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-wook's Oldboy doesn't hit theaters until October, and that just seems way too long to wait. I'm genuinely excited to see what Lee does with the material and am envisioning a revenge (and blood)-soaked 25th Hour.  The good news is that FilmDistrict has finally dropped a tiny morsel from the upcoming film.  The bad news: it's chicken scratch.

Oldboy PosterThe distributor has unveiled a teaser poster for the film at CinemaCon, which is taking place in Las Vegas April 15-18.  The symbolism borrows from Park's original: they're the scratches that the imprisoned protagonist Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik ) uses to keep track of time.

That character gets an American makeover in Lee's version:  He's now Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin), and, according to the official synopsis he's an advertising executive

 "who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment."

These clues leave me with a handful of questions, most of them having to do with other plot points from the original that are ripe for homage:

1) There are a lot of advertising executives I'd like to see locked away, but for 20 years?  What did he do, devise those Kia ads with the hipster hamsters?

2) In the original Oh Dae-su tracked down his captor via the dumplings he was fed in prison every day. If an American comfort food is substituted, what will it be? Macaroni & Cheese?

3) Will the live octopus-eating scene be referenced? (If you haven't watched the original Oldboy, you should, but, in the meantime, I've posted the scene below.)

4) Will incest figure into the plot as it did in the original?  If so, American audiences will squirm enough that reprising the live octopus scene won't be necessary.

5) Does Lee's brother Cinqué Lee have a thing about playing bellhops? He plays one in this movie, and he played one in Jim Jarmusch's 1989 film Mystery Train.

If you crave more Oldboy info while you wait for a trailer,  check out my interview with director Park in which he explains why he's not interested in seeing Lee's remake until it's released.

And order up some live sushi:

Now that's fresh

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  • jc says:

    Shouldn't you have a spoiler warning? Geez....

  • ThePope says:

    Uh, Frank, spoilers much? Jesus christ, are you new to covering movies or do you just not care that much? Cut that shit out.

  • Frank DiGiacomo says:

    What spoilers? I have no idea what's in the movie. The original has been out since 2003. I was referencing scenes in that film. If you haven't seen it, you two should be the ones getting spanked.

  • Fed Up says:

    The question you're all not asking is - Why? Oldboy is totally overrated. Do we really need a remake? Seriously?

    • Well, Park's version is not nearly as masterful as "Stoker," but I'm confident Spike Lee will take the essential premise of the movie and make it relevant and compelling. Check out '25th Hour' if you haven't seen it.

      • Andrew K says:

        Stoker, masterful? Really? Oldboy might be the weakest of the "revenge trilogy," but Stoker really can't compare to any three of them. Any comparison to The 25th Hour seems a little... off.

        As a huge fan of the movies, I'm actually excited to see what Spike Lee does with the material. the casting of Josh Brolin sure didn't hurt. Also glad they're going full-on with the Americanization - I mean, you don't expect it to be Americans in Korea, but still - such things have happened with international remakes (like, ugh, Fincher's Dragon Tattoo. Yeah, yeah, it's all white people, but still).

        • And I gotta ask, why are you reading an article written about a movie you don't even like? Simply so you can leave a negative comment on it is my guess. How fun for you.

    • Hmm. I don't know about overrated. For one thing, I only know about six people who have seen it, it's only recently gotten remotely popular to people outside the inner movie circle. For another, it's rare for a movie to shock so many viewers like this one did, which is part of why it gets so much praise, nothin' wrong with that. I'm almost certain that not liking a movie doesn't make it overrated, it simply means it's a movie you don't like.
      I mean. They made like, eight Scary Movies, and you're asking why about this? 'Seriously?' right back at ya.

  • Andrew K says:

    Also, given that he's held prisoner for 20 years (not 14, like the Monte Cristo-referencing original), is there any word on who will be playing the younger Brolin? 20 years is sort of a stretch for one actor, unless the film doesn't show young Brolin at all.

  • KatR says:

    I love Oldboy, I don't understand why people have to remake movies that don't need to be translated into different cultures. Just make the movie with a similar plot and a new title, I doubt it will even be AS similar or good as the korean version to warrant a nod towards it by claiming the title. My Sassy Girl was a funny but relateable movie, the American remake was so stupid that it shouldnt have even been made, let alone released. Same thing with a lot of classics that have been remade like Tron or Clash of the Titans or Total Recall. Or video games that have been made into movies. All terrible. Hollywood needs to get some more originality instead of riding the coattails of already cult or popular classics.

    PS I agree that there is no spoiler alert for a movie being remade that has been out and available to watch for over a decade. Most likely it will be watered down in the important areas and beefed up in the shock factors in order to make it a box hit. I feel bad bashing it before its even out because I like old Spike Lee and I really do like Josh Brolin alot.

  • Aaron says:

    This is going to be such crap. Of all the talented directors to shamelessly remake a masterpiece, studios hire Spike Lee- Hollywood has its head up its ass.