David Fincher to remake C4's Utopia for HBO

News Louisa Mellor 13 Feb 2014 - 07:50

A US remake of Dennis Kelly's Utopia is on its way, with director David Fincher and Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn at the helm...

Utopia, currently in production on series two, will return to Channel 4 later this year. Wait a little longer, and like Broadchurch before it, the series will also have a US twin. It's been that announced Fight Club and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo's David Fincher will be continuing his collaboration with Gone Girl's Gillian Flynn to produce a remake for HBO.

If Channel 4's Utopia was going to end up anywhere on US TV, then HBO is the place. Depending on how faithful a remake the Fincher/Flynn version of the 2013 series will be, there are a handful of scenes that the networks might find very difficult to swallow.

The premise of the series, which follows a group of conspiracy theorists brought together by a catastrophe-prophecying graphic novel, is no easy swallow either. As the six-part drama progressed on Channel 4, it posed complex moral questions about utilitarianism and overpopulation, offering no simple answers.

Utopia's idiosyncratic style, from director Marc Munden, was a key part of the first series' identity. Will David Fincher's direction achieve the same arresting effect? More news as it arrives.

Read more about Utopia on Den of Geek, here.

The Hollywood Reporter

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I think the visual style and general tone of the show, including the music is more key than the shocking moments. That being said, Fincher nor HBO are ones to shy away and the only part I see them altering is the ***SPOILER school shooting SPOILER***...might run a little too close to home for some folks.

I enjoyed Utopia as it felt very individual and distinctive. Most other programs, good or not, fit neatly into genres / have other shows comparisons can be drawn with, but I feel you'd be clutching at straws a little to try and do that with Utopia - it was refreshing (obviously the fact it was entertaining and quite intelligent helped it too!). These are difficult things to do right, and so I'm pretty pessimistic about a remake working out, although I have to say that having a combination of a David Fincher and HBO is as good a starting point as you could really hope for. I'll be keeping track of this with interest!

Well yes. Of course. Why not remake another great British show for US audiences? I mean it stands to reason that you can't just air the original in the US. Cause, you know, Americans don't speak English right? I mean all those pesky accents. The Americans will go like "What the hell ya saying bud?" Shame on you HBO! You're the channel with the most quality tv shows in the world. You didn't need a pointless remake in your schedule! As for David Fincher, I guess one pointless remake wasn't enough. Waste of programming I say.

'Remake' - NO. 'Fincher' - YES.
Oh I'm between a rock and a hard place. But yeah....what's wrong with the original? Are our accents THAT hard to understand?

I dunno, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake was pretty awesome IMO.

Finchers remake of House of Cards was actually better than the original. But I'd be amazed if he could make Utopia better than the UK original but would love to be proven wrong on that!

But the Swedish version was way better.

Don't do subtitles... or black and white

The Swedish version's not in balck and white and if you don't do subtitles you'll miss out on a lot of really awesome stuff.

As an American living in the UK many of my friends have already watched the British version and loved it. They could easily show it on a major network and you would have a very large audience. Now that you have BBC America loads of British shows have become hits without 'translating' them and if they don't get a reference they google it within seconds...really pointless exercise!

I'm repeating what's already been said but how is Fincher going to improve on the original? When was the last great US remake of an overseas film or TV series? Is there some tax loophole if you remake overseas stuff? Could that be the reason?

Actually personally I think Fincher's version was far superior. Better direction, better acting and more faithful to the book.

Unbelievable...
Well, it might be good. I don't really care either way as long as the British one stays on our screens.

I really enjoyed his version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well. He has form remaking seemingly impossible to top source material.

Don't object to this with a talented guy like Fincher behind the wheel but still I'd have thought this I just thought this was the one UK show that was HBO-ready...

But it did nothing to elevate the material.

Is it really fair to call Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a remake? Surely it could be seen as just another interpretation of the book, much like last year's Carrie.

I would tend to agree with you about outright remakes but if there is source material that the "original" was based on then it gets a bit murky. Total Recall, for example, claimed that it wasn't a remake but was based on the same source. However they did everything possible to connect themselves to the first movie, from the title (the original story was titled "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"), to visual shoutouts such as Arnie's disguise, despite the story being pretty different.

I haven't seen either Dragon Tattoo movie so I'm not claiming to be right about this, but from what I've heard there are quite a few differences in them and, other than name recognition, the Fincher version did little to reference the first movie but kept its focus on the book and their own version of it. In that way it could be said that it wasn't a pointless remake and more another adaption for a different audience.

What?

I've seen both versions and I like the original much better. However...I actually saw the Mikael Nyqvist/Noomi Rapace film before I even read the bleeding book. So obviously I can;t comment on their indivdual quality objectively as the YellowBird film was also my introduction to the story. I have however also read the book and what I can say is that neither are completely faithful. They are just very different. The Swedish version is much bigger in scope using it's main narrative as a framework to discuss sociopolitical issues much like the book does. However this does more often than not go at the expense of the character moments. The burgeoning romance between Salander and Blomkvist in the book is pretty much relegated to a single sex scene in the movie. The US version pretty much butchered the plot but the characters are much more like they are in the book and the pacing's indentical as well. (in the Swedish version things happen in a very different order than they do in the book) Again I like the Swedish movie better but I like Scandinavian movies a lot more than Hollywood movies anyways. You'd really just have to see for yourself to decide which one's the better one.

I refer you to my comment below.

Sorry, I may have worded that badly in relation to my point. Which is better and why, as you point out, are mostly matters of opinion (given that both are competently made, of course). My point was that both versions, through their differences, are standalone movies. They are both merely based in the same source material. To call Fincher's version a remake in that context is a little unfair, in my opinion, as it doesn't try to emulate the other movie.

Reboot may be a term that would cause me less pause, but in a situation like yhis where the movoes are made on different continents and aimed at differing audiences I think I would still be a bit uneasy with the term.

In short, claiming Fincher's version as a remake of the earlier Seedish movie is akin to calling Hammer Studio's Dracula a remake of Nosferatu. Sure, they were based on the dame book, they tell the same essential story and the later movie owes a great deal to the earlier, but they were made differently for different audiences in different times and places (another example would be Man of Steel sharing a story with but not remaking Superman 2). The differing attitudes to the source material in both that example and that of Dragon Tattoo really point out that the "remake" label doesn't quite fit.

Of course, were Fincher's version to throw in many references to the earlier movie that were unique to the first movie and not found in the book then I would agree with your initial assessment. However as long as it stands as a straight adaption from the book and references only the book then "remake" doesn't really fit.

Completely agree Starbuck. Love subtitles and foreign films in general. We get new takes and perspectives from cultures not based on US paradigms.
Also, we like violence/sex/vulgarity, but we always edit out the extremes ... we "Disneyfie" offensive material, diluting/nullifying the content/meaning of whatever it is we are watching.
As a country, we really need to have our minds blown away by a new perspective ... an original take! Instead, we hide and ignore the rest of the world, while watching American Idol reruns or the latest redneck comedy/reality series. Dare I say it? This country needs an enema!

Well, some of them are hard to understand.
But it's mostly a case of us Americans being really, really lame.
We don't like to be challenged; just tell us what's supposed to be good, and we'll like it on Facebook. And please don't make us think; we hate that! :(

I've never actually watched Utopia...hope it's original as Black Mirror.

Uh, my disliking that version had nothing to do with subtitles or it being in Swedish. I love foreign films actually, particularly French ones, since I'm fluent in French as a second language.I just thought it was an inferior film for the reasons I already mentioned above.

NO NOT THAT ONE!!! I meant this one:
"I've seen both versions and I like the original much better. However...I
actually saw the Mikael Nyqvist/Noomi Rapace film before I even read
the bleeding book. So obviously I can;t comment on their indivdual
quality objectively as the YellowBird film was also my introduction to
the story. I have however also read the book and what I can say is that
neither are completely faithful. They are just very different. The
Swedish version is much bigger in scope using it's main narrative as a
framework to discuss sociopolitical issues much like the book does.
However this does more often than not go at the expense of the character
moments. The burgeoning romance between Salander and Blomkvist in the
book is pretty much relegated to a single sex scene in the movie. The US
version pretty much butchered the plot but the characters are much more
like they are in the book and the pacing's indentical as well. (in the
Swedish version things happen in a very different order than they do in
the book) Again I like the Swedish movie better but I like Scandinavian
movies a lot more than Hollywood movies anyways. You'd really just have
to see for yourself to decide which one's the better one."

So no disrespect intended.

Edit: don't know why it came out so weird when I copied it. Just read the original comment. Much easier. it's somewhere down below, here.

Ah, my mistake. It wasn't clear which one you meant, though. Eh, I still don't really agree, but each to their own, eh? Agree to disagree. And I think I saw the American film before reading the books or watching the Swedish ones, so I can't say I'm unbiased either. :D

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