Spielberg Tackles Oldboy

by Irma Arkus

Despite initial rumour of strange pairing of Spielberg and Will Smith in Oldboy, the clarifications are in – the film, Oldboy, is actually not going to be remade by Spielberg. Instead, they will make Old Boy based on same name manga, the original material which inspired the Chan-wook Park directed movie.

Old Boy was created by Garon Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi, and the North American rights for the eight-part series manga were purchased by Dark Horse Comics in 2005. The manga series can be only described as brutal, understated, melancholic, and violent.

The problem? THE Problem is in Will Smith. Even though the actor would probably be a good fit for the role, as the character of the imprisoned Old Boy is a sympathetic one, the rumours are that Will Smith insists on imposing particular ratings on the films involving his image. Namely, the films he stars in do not go over PG-13 ratings.

Not that we noticed (or cared to), as his films are usually aimed at broad appeal audiences, and contain some violence, but relatively minimal adult content. In this case, Smith’s tactics at cornering the PG-13 ratings would be detrimental to the spirit of the very manga that Old Boy is based on.

In this case, the brutal existence, the torture, the sexual content and the violence serve an important role in the film. To lose these, or lessen their effect, would result in losing the core of the story and the visceral element of its experience.