Park Chan-wook Brings Iconic "Oldboy" to Television in English-Language Series with Lionsgate

Park Chan-wook Brings Iconic "Oldboy" to Television in English-Language Series with Lionsgate
Photo by Dylan Taylor / Unsplash

Renowned filmmaker Park Chan-wook is venturing into new territory as he sets to adapt his internationally acclaimed film "Oldboy" into an English-language television series, collaborating with Lionsgate Television. This marks the first time the 2003 thriller will be reimagined for television, promising to introduce a fresh perspective while maintaining the raw emotional and visual impact that distinguished the original film.

"Oldboy," which Park directed and co-wrote, is adapted from a Japanese manga by Garon Tsuchiya and has been a significant influence in the world of cinema, particularly known for its intense narrative and groundbreaking aesthetics. The story centers on Oh Dae-su, portrayed by Choi Min-sik, who is mysteriously abducted and confined in a cell-like apartment for 15 years without any explanation. His sudden release sets him on a relentless quest for vengeance against his unknown captor, culminating in a series of dramatic and violent confrontations.

The film is part of Park’s celebrated Vengeance trilogy, preceded by "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (2002) and followed by "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" (2005). It garnered multiple awards, including the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, marking a historic win for South Korean cinema. The film's notoriety led to a 2013 American remake directed by Spike Lee, featuring Josh Brolin as Joe Doucett, a reinterpretation of the original protagonist.

In his collaboration with Lionsgate, Park expressed enthusiasm about the creative alignment between his vision and the studio’s commitment to daring, original content. “Lionsgate Television shares my creative vision for bringing 'Oldboy' into the world of television,” Park stated. “I look forward to working with a studio whose brand stands for bold, original, and risk-taking storytelling.”

Scott Herbst, EVP and Head of Scripted Development at Lionsgate Television, also shared his excitement about the project, noting Park's status as a visionary storyteller. “This series adaptation of 'Oldboy' will feature the raw emotional power, iconic fight scenes, and visceral style that made the film a classic,” Herbst said.

The project is under the watchful eyes of Lionsgate executives Courtney Mock and Tara Joshi, with Bryan Weiser handling the negotiations. This adaptation promises to breathe new life into the gripping tale of revenge and redemption that has captivated audiences worldwide.

Park Chan-wook's influence extends beyond "Oldboy." He is acclaimed for his work on films like "The Handmaiden" (2016) and "Decision to Leave" (2022), the latter earning him a Best Director award at Cannes. His other notable projects include "Stoker" (2013) and "Thirst" (2009). Additionally, Park has been involved in both film and television versions of "Snowpiercer," and he recently took the helm of "The Sympathizer," starring Robert Downey, Jr., which is currently airing on HBO. Looking ahead, Park is set to release "Uprising," a period action thriller feature for Netflix, later this year.

With this adaptation, Park Chan-wook continues to expand his artistic horizons, bringing his unique narrative style and cinematic flair to the television landscape, promising a series that not only pays homage to the original film but also offers a unique interpretation that is bound to resonate with both new viewers and longtime fans of "Oldboy."