Spike Lee's on the comeback trail these days — the ever-controversial auteur roared back with his intimate, personal "Red Hook Summer" at Sundance this year, with the film hitting theaters last month, and followed it up swiftly with his affectionate, fascinating Michael Jackson documentary "Bad 25," which premiered at Venice a week ago, and will air (in slightly edited form) on ABC on Thanksgiving weekend.
Both films are strong without quite setting the world alight, but Lee's gearing up for his fully fledged return to the mainstream, as his oft-delayed remake of Park Chan-wook's seminal Korean revenge movie "Oldboy" is finally gearing up for production. And the good news is, the film, which will star Josh Brolin in the title role along with Sharlto Copley, the now-confirmed Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson and Nate Parker, now has a distributor, as all the trades are reporting that the film's been picked up by FilmDistrict, the company behind the release of "Drive"and this summer's "Safety Not Guaranteed."
Given the moderate success that they had with Nicolas Winding Refn's film, the company seems like a pretty good home, although hopes will surely be higher for this one given the presence of Lee, the cast and the well-known source material. Whether the film turns out to be any good is another question, but we know we'd rather see it in the hands of Lee than most other filmmakers.
An official synopsis reads "Brolin plays an ad exec who is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement without any indication of his captor’s motive. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment. His quest for revenge leads him into an ill-fated relationship with a young social worker (Olsen) and ultimately to an odd man (Copley) who allegedly holds the key to his salvation." Shooting gets underway any day now, so we'll probably see it around this time next year.
In other distribution news, Screen Daily report that, after the success of heartwarmer "The Untouchables," The Weinstein Company are reteaming with the film's star Omar Sy by acquiring North American rights to his next film, the comedy/thriller "On the Wrong Side of the Tracks," which sees Sy play a streetwise French cop who teams up with an uptight Parisian detective to solve a murder. The film hits French screens on December 19th, so we'll probably see it sometime next year on these shores. Meanwhile, Variety announces that Cohen Media Group has acquired "Capital," the political thriller from veteran Costa-Gavras, which will be unveiled at the Toronto International Film Festival, and stars Gabriel Byrne. And a press release from Cinema Guild announces that they've acquired another TIFF picture, the documentary "Leviathan," an odyssey of fishermen, which they'll release in theaters in 2013. Expect much, much more distribution news as the Toronto International Film Festival continues.