DreamWorks sets up 'Old Boy' club

Will Smith, Steven Spielberg developing remake

Related: Korean film wave ripples to the U.S.

Nothing brings people together like $584 million in worldwide revenue.

In a potential high-profile star-writer reunion, "I Am Legend" co-scribe Mark Protosevich is in early talks to pen the remake of "Old Boy" that boxoffice king and "Legend" star Will Smith is developing with director Steven Spielberg.

DreamWorks secured the remake rights from Mandate Pictures, which also is staying involved in the project. Although the studio was meeting with several high-profile writers to do the adaptation, Smith invited Protosevich to meet with Spielberg on the project.

DreamWorks declined comment. The rights deal with Mandate is not complete.

Mandate acquired the 2003 Korean film co-written and directed by Park Chan-wook from Universal, which picked up the rights in 2004 with Vertigo Entertainment ("The Eye," "The Grudge"). The original film, which like much edgy Asian cinema includes some disturbing material, detailed a man's mysterious kidnapping, 15-year imprisonment and feverish quest for revenge upon being released.

A slew of Asian remakes have found their way into American theaters and onto development slates in the past few years. Screenwriter William Monahan won the best adapted screenplay Oscar in 2007 for translating the Hong Kong thriller "Infernal Affairs" into the 2006 best picture winner "The Departed," at Warner Bros. And Brad Ingelsby is adapting the 2000 Korean gangster movie "Die Bad," which "Quantum of Solace" director Marc Forster is negotiating to helm for Universal.

DreamWorks has engaged in a flurry of activity since its departure from Paramount two months ago. At that time, Spielberg and co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider took 17 projects with them that DreamWorks had developed at Paramount, which retains an option to co-finance and co-distribute any resulting production.

"Old Boy" would be DreamWorks' first acquisition since the move, though Mandate might retain some ownership role in the film. Spielberg has been working on directing the first of a planned series of "Tintin" films with fellow producer Peter Jackson.

The CAA-repped Protosevich also has written "Poseidon" and "The Cell," and he worked on "Thor" for Marvel Studios.