Spike Lee recently complained that he couldn’t get Inside Man 2 made, which pointed out that it’s been five years since that film hit theaters. Lee’s mostly worked in the documentary field, though he did make The Miracle at St. Anna, a film that could have been great, but isn’t. Perhaps Lee’s recent talks about money and not working has led to him being in contention to direct the remake of Oldboy, as Twitchfilm noted.
The likelihood of this happening is questionable, if only because the material has been shopped around for a while. Spike Lee – for better or ill – doesn’t have the clout of a Steven Spielberg or Will Smith, both of whom circled the material for a while, so maybe you need a director who will remain faithful to the material’s darker side, or maybe it just can’t be remade in America. If you haven’t seen Chan-wook Park’s delirious original, it’s one of the best films of the last decade, and has one of the great endings of modern cinema. But the heat on doing remakes of hot Asian properties has cooled since The Ring hit in 2002. There was a time where they were buying the remake rights to films that were in pre-production in other countries, but after so many misfires like The Eye remake, or One Missed Call, that interest has cooled.
It’d be great to see Spike back working, though even from his early films he runs hot and cold. That said, Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, and The 25th Hour are enough to say that Lee’s a master filmmaker. Hopefully his recent stink will get him working again, though his grumpiness and inability to work successfully in the industry is partly why he’s a genius, and partly why he doesn’t work as often. Even at his worst (and he’s made a number of misfires), Spike Lee’s movies have always had integrity.
What would you like to see Spike Lee do next?