Interview

Interview

Producer Roy Lee Opens Up About 'Old Boy,' 'Poltergeist,' 'Battle Royale,' and MORE

We recently spent a day on the set of 7500, the new thriller from The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu. While we can't give you any of the details on that project just yet (give us a few months), we were able to spend some time with Shimizu's long-time producer, Roy Lee. Lee spilled on a few very high-profile genre projects coming up, including Old Boy, Poltergeist, The Grudge reboot, The Ring reboot, and Battle Royale. Check out what he has to say after the jump.

What do you have coming up after 7500?

We are planning to shoot Old Boy in March. That should start pre-production in January.

Are there any aspects of the original Old Boy that you kept, or is this completely separate?

This is completely separate. A brand new script by Mark Protosevich.

Can you tell us anything about the approach or style you are going to take with Old Boy?

It is very similar, but we've added new elements to it that will throw off the audience who has seen the original. There are new characters and new situations that present themselves in a way that change the story, but eventually go in the same direction.

The ending of the film isn't the same as the ending of the manga on which it is based. Are you going to maintain some of the more controversial original's last act?

The ending will be something that audiences - especially fans of the original - will be very happy with. In fact, some may consider it to be a bit darker. And there is a different interpretation of that hallway scene that will hopefully be Spike Lee's signature moment in the movie.

Are you looking to revive The Grudge or The Ring?

We are looking to do a new version of The Grudge but we haven't decided on exactly what it will be. We just put it out to the film community that we are hearing takes from writers on what they could bring to the table with a new The Grudge.

And The Ring? Are you planning a third or a reboot?

It's the same as with The Grudge. They are hearing takes and also having a script written to see if it works in terms of restarting a Ring franchise.

How do you make something fresh when it is a reboot of a remake?

We hear different pitches from people who have their ideas. When one of us hears an idea we really like, we potentially execute it. They would be considered open writing assignments. 

What excites you about horror nowadays? I am seeing your name attached to a lot of horror projects.

I'm constantly looking for something that will push audiences to new scares in horror movies. Jason [Blum] has been doing a tremendous job with the Paranormal Activity movies. He has this movie called Sinister coming out, which is a hybrid of found footage and live action. Scott Derrickson directed that. I've just been reading scripts and hoping to find something. I have a couple scripts in mind that we are planning on doing in the same budgetary range as [7500] and just continue to experiment. Hopefully one will be made right after this one. We are in the negotiation stage right now.

Will we ever see the Battle Royale U.S. Edition, or has Hunger Games killed that?

Hunger Games took a lot of the wind out of the sails because it has a very similar story line. I'm not even sure if any studio.... Even before Hunger Games would have been able to take the creative risks you need to make the movie right, now it would be even harder.

Have you seen any parodies of some of your movies? What do you make of them?

I enjoy them. I find them quite funny. But I do think that once a horror [sub-]genre is commonly parodied in other movies, it starts to kill that particular take on that genre. So once you see it it kind of becomes a jerk in and of itself.

Were you attached to The Swarm remake?

That was one of those things where, like The Grudge reboot, we were just hearing takes on it; nothing further than that.

That one could stand a reboot.

I think the one I am most excited about updating is Poltergeist. That is something that, hopefully sometime next year, someone will be able to accomplish. I am in talks to produce that one. 

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