With Spike Lee recently musing that he'd like to make Brooklyn Loves MJ "next", there was some speculation that his new version of Oldboy had been back-burnered. But it seems not, with the news this morning that Elizabeth Olsen is the latest actress to be offered the female lead. Maybe by "next", Lee meant after this one.
Rooney Mara and Mia Wasikowska have both been in the running, but would appear to have passed: a story that keeps recurring in the development of this project. While Josh Brolin was locked fairly quickly for the Oh Dae-su role, the film has also struggled to find a villain thus far, with Christian Bale, Clive Owen and Colin Firth all considering it and then moving on.
The female role now on the table for Olsen is sushi chef Mi-do, played in Park Chan-wook's film by Kang Hye-jeong. Lee's new version names her as Marie, according to Twitch, so there's probably reason to suspect that she won't be preparing sushi anymore either. But she'll presumably remain the love interest, who our hero Oh Dae-su / currently-unnamed-Brolin takes a shine to along the way to solving the mystery of his 15-year imprisonment. There's also the threat of her death hanging over his progress, just to spice things up. Oh, and without wishing to be spoilerific, perhaps there's more to her character than is immediately revealed...
Olsen's immediate next project is the Zola adaptation Therese Raquin, in which she's co-starring with Glenn Close. Despite being a hot prospect right now following her break-out introduction in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Twitch believe she doesn't have much lined up for the rest of this year (though she's fully booked for 2013), so if true, that might make her particularly likely to sign on the Oldboy line.
Mark Protosevich has eight volumes of manga to draw from in his screenplay, and they don't much resemble the Chan-wook classic. There's potential for this to be a very different film, on which note Mandate are apparently splitting the title back into its original two words: so it's Old Boy from now on, not Oldboy. There still doesn't seem to be a solid start date, but shooting is planned to start "soon".
We'll next see Olsen in single-take horror Silent House, out in the UK on May 4.