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Spike Lee Cut Oldboy’s Crazy Continuous Shot

Park Chan-wook's original Oldboy has two scenes in particular that get scorched into one's memory: First, the scene where a guy eats a live octopus. (Memorable.) And second, the long, continuous shot that follows the main character down a dank corridor, where he kills a bunch of people. (Again, memorable. Warning: That video is very violent.) When news broke that Spike Lee was making his own adaptation of Oldboy, fans began to wonder how much of the original's signatures he'd keep. Perhaps not quite as much as he'd like, Lee tells the Times.

Not one to back away from a challenge, Mr. Lee said he tripled the length of the fight sequence and expanded the set from one hallway to three parking lot ramps.

Because they were aiming to get it in one shot, [Josh] Brolin trained for six weeks to memorize the choreography. After seven complete takes, Mr. Brolin has said, he broke down in tears. That scene, however, along with much of Mr. Lee's initial, three-hour cut, was trimmed by the studio to make the final version's 102-minute run time.

"It's not one shot," Mr. Lee said. "There's a cut in it. Shouldn't be, but there is a cut."

Lee doesn't elaborate on what exactly transpired other than to say "tough business." No word yet on the octopus.

Photo: Paul Bruinooge/©Patrick McMullan