Oldboy Is Getting an English-Language TV Adaptation

It looks like Hollywood is going to take another stab at adapting Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy, this time coming from Park himself and as an English-language TV series. The director will be producing the series for Lionsgate Television, and it will probably be shopped to streamers for release.

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There aren’t many details about the series as yet, aside from claims that it will feature “the raw emotional power, iconic fight scenes and visceral style that made the film a classic,” according to Lionsgate Television EVP and Head of Scripted Development, Scott Herbst. That would be a very tall order for any TV series considering there are few films like Oldboy. The original movie, released in 2003, featured such an iconic moment in its hallway fight sequence that it has become part of the lexicon of action cinema — a rare feat.

The new series appears to be telling the same story as the film (and the manga it was based on), which involves a man being kept locked up for 15 years for no reason and then being released with the goal of finding his captors in five days. It is a brutal, visceral, and incredible film that won the Grand Prix at Cannes but part of the reason it worked was its unrelenting momentum. How well that will transfer into an extended TV series isn’t clear, but Park seems to have an idea of what he wants to do.

This won’t be the first time that Oldboy has been adapted into English. In 2013, Spike Lee directed an English adaptation starring Josh Brolin that was reportedly cut to pieces by the studio and flopped both critically and at the box office. Hopefully, Park’s greater involvement in this adaptation will mean that it comes out a bit better.

“Lionsgate Television shares my creative vision for bringing Oldboy into the world of television,” said Park. “I look forward to working with a studio whose brand stands for bold, original and risk-taking storytelling.”


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Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is a News Writer and film aficionado at Escapist. He has been writing for Escapist for nearly five years and has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and video games for both print and online outlets. He has a degree in Film from Vassar College and a degree in gaming from growing up in the '80s and '90s. He runs the website Flixist.com and has written for The Washington Post, Destructoid, MTV, and more. He will gladly talk your ear off about horror, Marvel, Stallone, James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.