Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a lot of remakes and reboots dominating the box office. From Robocop to About Last Night and a few dozen in between, Hollywood’s going back through its greatest hits to slap a fresh coat of paint on old favorites. Not that this is any kind of new occurrence, but the frequency in which these films are getting remade seems to be just a bit more amplified lately. Added to the pile is Alfred Hitchcock‘s seminal classic The Birds, a long-gestating project that is finally getting off the ground after years in limbo.
The Birds is the 1963 thriller starring Tippi Hendren as a woman on the run from hordes of terrifying and evil avian attackers, hellbent on taking down any humans in their path. Anyone even a little familiar with Hitchcock or cinema knows the iconic image of Hendren cowering in a phone booth as sinister birds crash into the glass around her. Michael Bay‘s Platinum Dunes — also consisting of Andrew Form and Brad Fuller — are producing the redo, and now the first wave in awhile has happened with the project with Dutch director Diederik Van Rooijen signing on to helm the film.
The redo supposedly will not be a direct remake of the Hitchcock classic, but pay homage to the Daphne du Maurier short story that the legendary filmmaker used as source material. This could be a smart move — no use trying to copy a beloved work of cinematic art if it ain’t broke — but at the same time, what is there in the source material that Hitchcock didn’t see in the first place? We’ll see what writer Jonathan Herman (who penned the most recent version of the screenplay) has cooked up.
As for Tippi Two, Naomi Watts has long been loosely attached to the project, but her involvement remains based on the script. As for Van Rooijen, the director is best known as the writer-director of the Dutch TV series Penoza (Red Window in the US), but The Birds will mark his feature-film debut. Back in 2012, our own Jack Giroux talked with Platinum Dunes’ Brad Fuller about the status of the remake, and the producer said that nothing would be happening until the team could figure out a way to “crack” the film — aka find better ways for the birds to kill people. Now, doesn’t that sound like they must have figured it out by now if they’ve got a director booked? Who will be the first person to get killed by a bird with a gun?