The original pic revolves around a man who’s kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years. When finally released, he begins looking into the reason for his captivity and soon finds out that his kidnapper has even more torturous plans for him.
The original film, released in South Korea in 2003 and in the U.S. in 2005, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Asian movie blog Twitchfilm.com was first to report that Lee was in early talks, but no offer had been made at the time and Mandate was still considering a handful of a directors — including Mark Romanek.
An “Oldboy” remake has been a high priority at Mandate for some time, with Steven Spielberg at one point eyeing it to direct and Will Smith circling to star. When Spielberg and Smith moved on, the project went under the radar as Mandate began searching for new candidates.
Lee, repped by CAA, has not directed a feature since Touchstone’s “Miracle at St. Anna” in 2008. Lee has also signed on to direct and exec produce a drama pilot for HBO, “Da Brick,” loosely based on the life of Mike Tyson.