Acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee gave the audience some quite fantastic films like She’s Goota Have it, Do the Right Thing, and Malcolm X. For his latest project, the veteran filmmaker chose to reimagine the revenge classic Oldboy of Park Chan-wook. The film stars Josh Brolin, who finds his life ruined after twenty years in the prisons without any proper reasons. Seeking revenge, he sets the cycles of the story. Director Lee explained in an interview that the opportunity to work with Josh Brolin was one of the incentives of finding the interesting script to recreate.
The director clarified that the remake would exhibit his signature interpretation of the idea represented in the movie. The idea is revenge of course, and there are many layers to it. Lee also talked with the original director. Park was very straightforward in telling Lee to make his own film based on the idea. That got things rolling, and the director –actor duo finally made the film. Asked whether he is happy about the film, Lee confirmed that he has been successful in creating a new experience, while never forgetting the essential flavor of the original film.
He was all praise for Josh. When the interviewer asked him about a hotel room sequence scene where the actor exhibits animalistic aggressiveness, Lee just smiled and said that it was Josh doing his own thing. Surprised, the interviewer asked him whether he did not direct the actor in that sequence. Lee said that the understanding between them is so great that he does not have to direct Josh much. Once the actor has the script, he just gets into the flow of the moment. The spontaneity works well for the director also. He also praised on how the actor gained the extra 50 lbs required to get into the skin of the character.
Elaborating further on improvisation and spontaneity, the director clarified that it is just how he wants an actor to work. He confirmed that you cannot script all moments. The expressions and the feelings must arrive naturally for the film to deliver a powerful performance. Discussing his work process, he stated that they always had a small talk before the take. This crucial talk brought them to the same level, and there was nothing much else to do. The actor went on with his natural acting, and the director set up the camera vision to engage the audience in the passion of the moment.
Spike Lee also clarified that he was not at all afraid to remake the classic. He admitted that there was a lot of criticism from movie buffs who did not want a remake of the original. However, the director held on to his creative belief that he can create a masterpiece with a uniqueness that would retain the audience. Since he also found his perfect actor in Josh, there was no stopping with the natural flow of the movie. He expressed that cult films have fanatic fans who hold the movies as sacrosanct. He always knew that remaking a cult film would be challenging. But, director Lee is not afraid of challenges.