By Amy Ryan
November 07, 2008 at 12:00 PM EST

I did a double take when I read in Variety that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are interested in an American remake of Korean director Park Chanwook’s 2003 film Oldboy. For those not familiar with the cult hit, the centerpiece of the filmmaker’s revenge trilogy, it’s a hyperviolent saga about a man held hostage for 15 years, then mysteriously released and allowed to go on a brutal payback spree. A live octopus is eaten, incest is committed, and a man slices out his own tongue. In other words, not the sort of thing usually up either Spielberg’s or Smith’s alley. What are two guys with such mainstream, usually family-friendly sensibilities doing remaking a picture like this?

Naturally, this is the sort of news that drives fanboys apoplectic. But as this Slashfilm post points out, someone in Hollywood was bound to remake this film sooner or later. At least it’s not in the hands of hacks. Not only are these two at the top of their game creatively, but they’ve also both proven that they can sell pretty much anything to mainstream audiences, no matter how grim. If they can pull this off, well, kudos. Let’s just hope the finished product doesn’t involve aliens.

More on Oldboy:
Movie Review: Oldboy
Dalton Ross’ Obsession of the Week: Oldboy
Samuel L. Jackson: My Top 10 New Classic Asian Films
Comic Book Movies: The 22 Best Ever
Movie Review: Park Chanwook’s Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Movie Review: Park Chanwook’s Lady Vengeance
Book Review: Old Boy manga

addCredit(“Smith: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage; Spielberg: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images”)