In the remake of the South Korean film, Oldboy, Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) has been kidnapped and locked away in solitary confinement for twenty years. After being suddenly released, Joe seeks revenge against the people responsible for his imprisonment. One of those responsible is Haeng-Bok, who happens to be the bodyguard of a mysterious stranger.
At the New York Comic, Bloody-Disgusting participated in the roundtable interview with screenwriter Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend), actress Pom Klementieff (Sleepless Night), who plays Haeng-Bok, and Michael Imperioli (Sopranos), who plays Joe’s best friend, Chucky. Our man on the scene, Jorge Solis, was able to able to ask them what director Spike Lee brings to the American remake.
Bloody-Disgusting: Tell me about how the barroom brawl between Haeng-Bok and Joe Doucett came about.
Mark Protosevich: You can probably answer that better than I can! [Laughs]
Pom Klementieff: Yeah that’s for me! I had to train for two months with amazing stuntmen on the movie, with J.J. Perry, David Wald, and Jeff Bart. Yes the choreography is not in the script actually, maybe the last one.
MP: The thing is, you can write an action scene, and you actually write them fairly detailed, at least I like to, but when they’re on the set, and the stunt coordinators working with the actors and the stunt people, it becomes this whole other thing. And with Spike working with them, it takes on a life of its own. I can have a vision of it in my head, but when you get to the set and working with the actors, it becomes this whole other thing.
PK: Yeah, we’re wondering if we had to do more Asian-style, like Tae-Kwan Do, or street style. We worked on it with the stuntmen.
BD: Tell me about working with director, Spike Lee, again after “Summer of Sam” and “Clockers,” and how you managed to keep the collaboration fresh each time.
Michael Imperioli: This is my sixth Spike Lee joint. But it had been almost 17 years since the last time we worked together. Actually no, we did a commercial in-between somewhere. The thing about Spike is he’s really collaborative. He really wants input.
I forget which movie it was. Oh! “Clockers!” I show up on the set. “I rewrote the whole scene, Spike.” He goes, “Okay. I’ll see it when we rehearse.” Like he didn’t say, ” What do you mean? Let’s look at it.” Then I went and I did the scene. He was like, “All right. Keep everything, except the second line. Then use the original.” That was it.
But I mean, it’s really what you want to bring. He really tries to cast people who are going to bring a lot. He encourages that. And, the great thing is you rehearse. A lot of directors don’t rehearse before production starts. I flew to New Orleans a month before I worked. I rehearsed for a couple of days. The other actors were there, I think Josh was there much longer. Go through the dialogue. See what works. What comes out of your mouth in a good way. What else do you want to add? Flesh things through. And it’s a very collaborative process.
I think for something like this, that’s really kind of a genre film. It’s not a movie you’d associate with Spike Lee. He’s such a very character-driven director. But, to have those two things, operating at the same time, it’s really interesting.
Interview by Jorge Solis