When a remake of a classic is announced, a certain level of backlash is expected. If a director makes a film incredibly well, why would we want to see someone else tackle the same subject matter and probably do a worse job? There is of course always the glass if half full expectation, where perhaps a filmmaker is going to bring the story to life in an equally but different adaptation.
Such is the case with visionary filmmakers Park Chan-Wook and his "Oldboy" getting the remake treatment from Spike Lee. Park is one of those rare gem filmmakers that unfortunately doesn't get the recognition in the States that he deserves. His first English-speaking film "Stoker" was critically praised but had a very soft opening. But the subject matter and style he brings inspires American filmmakers, so it would make sense that they would try to put their own spin on it.
Park is definitely a cult classic filmmaker and the people involved with Lee's remake knew there would be some negativity surrounding it. Co-producer and screenwriter Mark Protosevich spoke out about this at New York Comic Con this past weekend.
Protosevich stated, "When the movie was announced, I appreciate and certainly I know there are people out there who are skeptical about our version. At one point, Justin Lin was going to direct it and I remember seeing that in the trades and as a fan of the original, my reaction was, 'Aw, really?' And so I understand that impulse. I get it. But in my circumstance, I was presented with this opportunity…to work with a couple of people [and it wasn't] a situation I was gonna turn down."
Park's original film is dark, haunting and utterly twisted and Protosevich assures the audience they did not tackle the subject matter lightly. He stated, "We're just as psychologically screwed up, believe me." He also noted, "We all came from a place of honor and respect to the original. I love the original, and I think it's one of the great moviegoing experiences I ever had, and all of us involved were very much inclined to treat the material with as much honor and respect as we can."
Protosevich is clearly very passionate about the project and came up with a musical analogy on remakes. "What Spike and I often talked about was the idea of cover versions," he said. Like, I love Neil Young's 'Like a Hurricane,' but Roxy Music does a great cover of it and I'm happy that both those things exist." On the other hand, he also noted, "If you feel that way about it, that it shouldn't even exist, there's nothing I can say or we can do that is going to change that opinion probably, because that's a very sort of fundamentalist belief. I just hope that perhaps there's a part of people who are open to the experience."
Regardless of your thoughts on whether a remake of the classic film was needed or not, you've got to admire Protosevich's perseverance as well as vision. It's clear he has a lot of respect for director Park and that he wasn't tackling the subject matter without careful consideration.
What do you make of Protosevich's comments? Let us know in the comments section below!
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