It was in 2010 that director Kim Jee-Woon spawned a sensational response with fans drawn from his winning suspenseful action horror thriller, I Saw The Devil. Adi Shankar’s own 1984 Private Defense Contractors acquired the English language remake rights three years later prior to possibly attaching Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett of You’re Next and The Guest fame.
The project has since been shelved while Wingard went onto fulfill other obligations, including Netflix’s U.S. adaptation of Japanese supernatural horror, Death Note. The director is currently on board and active with Legendary Pictures for a 2020 release of Godzilla VS. Kong, which, if Wingard still intends to direct, might not be heard about for at least another two or three years.
Of course, he still could very much bow out and leave it to another director to be chosen; Personally, I love the work Wingard and Barrett did on You’re Next and The Guest and should a remake move forward, I think The Guest and upcoming Apostle star Dan Stevens would suffice greatly as a perfect lead, particularly seeing as how The Guest was so much fun.
That being said, I also wouldn’t rule out the hopes of seeing an Asian lead retake the mantle. Actor Lee Byung-hun, currently charming his way into our hearts in the Netflix wartime action drama series, Mr. Sunshine, did some stellar work on Kim’s film opposite Choi Min-Sik who plays the elusive hunter who finds himself hunted, and given Lee’s current credits on Red 2 and the G.I. Joe films and provided that he’d be willing to reprise the character for another Hollywood outing and the promise of a fresher take on the story from its creators, I think he’d be a prime casting choice.
The same could even be said for Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist star Mike Moh who is currently playing Bruce Lee in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I’d always wanted to see him in different kinds of roles and the idea of him circling a project like this would definitely lend to the proliferation of Asian A-list talent in Hollywood, and maybe even Y’lan Noel, freshly from his latest role in The First Purge this summer could prove a viable candidate for Lee’s role.
As for who would take the mantle of Choi’s sadistic killer role, it’s been hard for me to come up with an actor who could beat Choi Min-Sik’s performance. Jackie Earle Haley whose performances in films like Watchmen and even The Nightmare On Elm Street reboot proved to showcase his caliber as one of the most physical actors working in film today next to Keanu Reeves and Josh Brolin who starred in Oldboy.
I grant that like with all acclaimed films such as I Saw The Devil, there will always be a group of fans who purely believe films like this are intangible. They may be right, but there’s always a possibility that a film in its vein, done properly, can win hearts and minds in the long haul, which is kind of why I started this column.
At present with Wingard on board, albeit tentatively, I’m looking forward to I Saw The Devil in its newest iteration. It could very well be that Kim Jee-Woon can jump in at the helm to succeed his 2013 thriller, The Last Stand, which would be fantastic, but I’d like to know your thoughts, folks. Feel free to carry the conversation over and tell us who you’d like to see revive this epic tale of gruesome, layered and haunting vengeance and penance.