Well, the casting carousel is now officially over in the “who will play the villain” sweepstakes for Spike Lee’s take on the Oldboy manga.
We’ve documented the project’s casting woes for Lee’s interpretation of the fanboy/girl fave.
In January, it was reported that production on the film had been pushed back to late summer/early fall (early spring was the previously-scheduled start date) thanks in part to star Josh Brolin’s press commitments for Men In Black 3, but likely also because the film’s starring cast hadn’t been sured-up yet.
Most recently, Clive Owen joined a short list of actors who were previously offered starring roles in the film but later rejected them for (in most cases) unspecified reasons; he was offered the main villain role, which was previously offered to Colin Firth and, before Firth, Christian Bale; obviously both also declined. I’m left wondering if these 3 actors who turned down the role did so because they are put off by the character (your garden variety self-righteous asshole, who does some utterly despicable shit, without giving away anything of the story for those who aren’t familiar). Granted I don’t know exactly what Spike’s version will include, so this is all just speculation based on Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film and the original manga.
Also worth noting, Rooney Mara turned down the female lead role, which was then offered to Mia Wasikowska, and she turned it down; the role was later offered to Elizabeth Olsen, and she’s in. I can see why Mara would turn it down, having just done Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; not that the roles are exactly the same, but after having to be completely vulnerable and exposed in the dark, brooding, violent Tattoo, she may not have wanted to be just as vulnerable and exposed in the dark, brooding, violent Oldboy - at least not-so soon afterward.
Our last post on the projcet announced that District 9 star Sharlto Copley had been offered the villain role, and was in early negotiations.
Today, Deadline confirms that Copley the deal with Copley is done, and he’s in! He will he be THE guy. So it’s him, Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen as the film’s 3 stars. Final and done!
My previous voiced hopes for some diversity in the film’s casting aside… additional plot details that we haven’t reported before on this Spike Lee adaptation have been revealed; specifically, Copley will play the villain named Adrian Pryce, described as a mysterious billionaire trying to destroy the life of Joe Douchett (played by Josh Brolin).
Ok – a broad description that sounds close enough to the original. We’ll need to get into specifics. As those familiar already know, the original is one hell of a *messy*, twisted, tragic story (going based on the manga and the first film), which partly explains its cult-dom. No word on whether Spike’s translation will contain the same kind of controversial elements.
Deadline adds that the new Oldboy begins shooting in late September with Spike’s 40 Acres A Mule co-producing. So it looks like this definitely will be Spike Lee’s next film, after Red Hook Summer, which will be out in August as previously announced.