7 almost sacrilegious Hollywood remakes

The unoriginality train continues at Den Of Geek, as some very sacred cows are led wholesale to the remake slaughterhouse...

Let's do the timewarp...again?

Silence Of The Lambs (2010)Source: ‘Silence Of The Lambs’ (Jonathan Demme, 1991); ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’ novel (Thomas Harris, 1988).From: UniversalDirector: Rupert WainwrightStarring: unknown (rumoured: Javier Bardem as Hannibal Lecter)Producers: Scott Rudin; Thomas Harris.Notes: No press releases so far. Demme’s 1991 adaptation of Thomas Harris’s 1988 thriller gathered five Oscars including best picture, but the Hannibal Lecter franchise is somewhat fragmented: the critical and box-office failure of the 2006 Hannibal Rising prequel constitutes a failed attempt to re-leverage the Hannibal character in a series. What then is the ambit of Wainwright’s remake? Is it a sequel to an existing remake (2002’s Red Dragon, which is a remake of the 1985 Manhunter, which is based on the first book featuring Lecter)? Or will Red Dragon v3.0 follow as a prequel if SotL v2.0 succeeds…?

The Exorcist (2010)Source: ‘The Exorcist’ (William Friedkin, 1973); ‘The Exorcist’ novel (William Peter Blatty, 1971).From: Warner BrosDirector: Unknown. Rumoured: Billy Ray; Ridley Scott; M. Night Shyamalan (not now, I think).Producers: Joel Silver; Rob Tapert; William Peter Blatty.Starring: Chris Cooper (Merrin); Peter Sarsgaard (Karras); Dakota Fanning (Regan – rumoured); Jodie Foster (Chris MacNeill – rumoured).Notes: Press release: “A bold re-imagining of William Peter Blatty’s vision of the nightmares of post-Vietnam 1960s America , 2010’s The Exorcist finds a more contemporary darkness fighting the powers of good for the soul of Regan MacNeill…” What, so the kid is going to be possessed by Al-Qaeda? A shame that Stellan Skarsgård won’t get a crack at it, as he has played the role of Merrin twice in both versions of the Exorcist prequel (Max Von Sydow played it once-and-a-bit, with a small cameo in Exorcist II).

Space Odyssey (2011)Source: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)From: MGMDirector: Steven Soderbergh Producers: Steven Soderbergh; Kerry Orent; George Clooney.Starring: Julianne Moore (Laura Bowman); Jennifer Van Dyck (Haley Lynn Poole); David Strathairn (‘HAL’ – rumoured).Notes: Press release: “After Solaris, It became clear to the administrators of the Kubrick estate that Steven Soderbergh was the only viable candidate amongst many seeking permission to remake the late director’s most famous work. Soderbergh’s emotionally impactful vision of a fledgling mankind making first contact with a superior alien intelligence will take full advantage of the CGI technology that Stanley Kubrick would doubtless have used if it had been available in the 1960s…The recasting of the astronauts as women is pure logic: we’re talking about a sustained space voyage where air, food and water are at a premium, and any candidate who can offer lower consumption of those precious commodities will be the obvious choice”.

Google “Peter Hyams 2010” to find out just how badly this idea sucks. Arthur C. Clarke’s death in March of this year finally released this property onto the market. One question (but it’s a biggie): why…?

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Klute (2010)Source: ‘Klute’ (Alan J. Pakula, 1971).From: Warner Bros.Director: Niels Mueller.Producers: Paul Thomas Anderson; Daniel Lupi; Emmanuel Lubezki.Starring: Stellan Skarsgård (John Klute – rumoured).Notes: Nothing yet. I quite liked The Assassination Of Richard Nixon, and if anyone can brood in the Donald Sutherland league, it’s Skarsgård – but the original is a noir classic. I mean, it’s untouchable. Apparently not. If Jessica Biel gets within fourteen square miles of this production as regards the character of Bree Daniels, I may have to defenestrate myself.

The Shining (2010)Source: ‘The Shining’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1980); ‘The Shining’ novel (Stephen King, 1977).From: Warner Bros.Director: Takashi ShimizuProducers: Stephen King; Sunmin Park; Sam Raimi.Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal (Wendy Torrance – rumoured); Jeffrey Wright (Dick Hallorann – rumoured).Notes: Kubrick remade again. Nada press release, and I doubt there will be one until they cast the critical role of Jack Torrance. This is not the first re-take on Kubrick’s classic horror, which honour was somewhat wasted by the 1997 mini-series known as Stephen King’s The Shining, and to be fair, neither version attempts a really faithful look at the book: Kubrick’s opus jettisons huge chunks that the TV series takes on to some effect (such as the hedge monsters), whilst the series ruins what little impact it has with a dense layer of saccharine, a total absence of profanity (pretty crucial to the book) and a Wendy Torrance so vengeful and powerful that you feel Steven Weber’s Jack never had a chance. Therefore give Shimizu a chance. There’s a dead wet woman in the original source material, so the director of The Grudge should feel right at home.

Kane (2010)Source: ‘Citizen Kane’ (Orson Welles, 1941)From: UniversalDirector: Oliver StoneProducers: Moritz Borman; Stacey Sher.Starring: Colin Farrell (Kane).Notes: Chief Hollywood rabble-rouser Stone is taking on the project generally thought unthinkable – a re-imagining of the rise to power of a media tycoon as portrayed in Orson Welles’ seminal classic, widely considered to be the best film ever made. From the press release: “[Stone] There’s no question of living up to the original vision – that wasn’t ever on the agenda with this project. If anything, this – I can’t call it a version, but this revisiting of the Welles territory will only serve to amplify the power of the original. We’re dealing here with hegemony, idealism and corruption…”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2009)Source: ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ (Jim Sharman, 1975)From: MTV; BermanBraun; Fox.Director: Unknown at the moment.Producers: Lou Adler; Gail Berman.Starring: Unknown at the moment.Notes: Millions have flocked in imitation of the original at midnight screenings worldwide, and original executive producer Lou Adler can only be triple-dipping for his grandkids’ college fund with this. “I’d like to see it shown a year from this coming Halloween, but that’s up to MTV.” says Adler. Apparently there might be some additional tunes. No-one’s irreplaceable at the end of the day, but good luck to whatever intrepid actor takes on the Frank N. Furter role that Curry will forever own. This is the worst of these remakes– because, unlike the remainder of the productions listed here, this one is real. So let’s not kid ourselves that the others couldn’t happen…

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