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New 'Oldboy' Villain: Sharlto Copley?

Spike Lee is focusing on 'District 9' star for key role in revenge remake

Spike Lee isn't giving up on his proposed American remake of the famous 2003 Korean film "Oldboy," and is now eyeing an actor who has been out of the spotlight recently for a major role.

Sharlto Copley is being considered for the unnamed villain role in the film, where a secret from childhood ends up imprisoning an unsuspecting man in a windowless apartment for 15 years, before he finally gets out and seeks his own revenge.

Copley, of course, is most famous for his work in the groundbreaking science-fiction film "District 9." The South African actor played Wikus Van De Merwe in the 2009 film that was shot for $30 million, and ended up making $115.5 million in North America.

In the remake, Copley could play the role that was named Woo-jin Lee in the original, played by Ji-Tae Yu. Josh Brolin has already signed to take on Min-Sik Choi's original role of Dae-su Oh, the man who was imprisoned for so long, and to whom Woo-jin takes out his revenge.

The original film is part of the revenge trilogy series from famed director Chan-wook Park. Although its theatrical release generated only $15 million worldwide (on a $3 million production budget), the film would win acclaim in the DVD market, along with companion films "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and "Lady Vengeance." It was based on the Japanese manga "Oldboy" by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya.

The Korean version of the film is considered exceptionally violent, and contains elements (like forced incest) that might not be most in-demand with mainstream American audiences. It's some of those elements that likely scared away actors like Christian Bale, Will Smith, Daniel Craig and Clive Owen, however, it's likely that Lee will adjust some of those themes and elements in his version of the film.

The screenplay for the American version was written by Mark Protosevich, who wrote "The Cell" and did the screenplays or stories for other major films like "I Am Legend," "Thor" and this year's "Mass Effect." He's currently working on "Jurassic Park IV," the next installment in that dinosaur franchise from director Joe Johnston.

Following "The A-Team" in 2010, Copley has been a bit quiet. However, he has finished filming the science-fiction thriller "Europa" with director Sebastian Cordero and a new film from "District 9" director Neill Blomkamp called "Elysium" with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

No official release date for Lee's "Oldboy" has been set, but filming could be underway later this year with plans on a 2013 or 2014 release.

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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