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Spielberg Still Has Oldboy Plans Despite Korean Suit

posted on by Egan Loo
Director moves forward despite Japanese publisher's case vs. Korean studio

The Reuters news service reports that director Steven Spielberg and actor Will Smith are still proceeding with DreamWorks' plans to remake Park Chan-Wook's manga-based Oldboy film — despite the lawsuit between the film's Korean studio and the manga's Japanese publisher. Futabasha, the Japanese publisher of Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's original Old Boy manga, is suing the Korean production company Show East over the Hollywood remake rights.

According to Reuters, Show East and its production partner Big Egg have both shut down. Show East CEO Kim Dong-Ju "has disappeared," while Big Egg's former staffers are also unreachable. A Futabasha spokesperson acknowledged that the publisher cannot confirm if Show East is bankrupt or how Show East's status will affect the lawsuit. DreamWorks declined to comment to Reuters on the lawsuit.

The remake deal has already been on circuitous journey throughout Hollywood. Cineclick Asia of South Korea initially negotiated the deal with Universal Pictures on behalf of Show East. Then Universal partnered with Vertigo Entertainment, the same production company that has developed or is developing the remakes of Death Note, Ju-on (The Grudge), Dark Water, Nankyoku Monogatari (Eight Below), Siworae (The Lake House), Infernal Affairs (The Departed), Gin gwai (The Eye), Shutter, My Sassy Girl, Jungdok (Possession), Sigaw (The Echo), and Janghwa, Hongryeon (The Uninvited). (Vertigo Entertainment has no relation with DC Comics' Vertigo imprint or the United Kingdom's Vértigo Films.) Yet another film studio, Mandate Pictures, bought out Universal's remake rights. Mandate Pictures, in turn, partnered with DreamWorks, the studio that Spielberg founded in 1994.

Soon after Spielberg's involvement was made public, Smith told the Film School Rejects website in November that Spielberg's team was adapting the original Old Boy manga, and not remaking Park's film version. Dark Horse Comics published the manga in North America from 2006 to 2007, and the manga won an Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Japan in 2007. In the story, a man who was imprisoned for over a decade hunts down his mysterious former kidnappers to take revenge.

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