English Language Remakes

a-prophet

For fans of Jacques Audiard’s (Rust and Bone) 2009 prison drama, Un prophète, news that it’s the next foreign feature in line for an English language remake might not be all that welcome. After something has been done well once, people tend to cringe a bit at the idea of it being attempted again, and possibly not as well. For people who don’t generally watch foreign films, be it because of some ingrained nationalism, or a dislike of dealing with subtitles, or whatever, news of Un Prophète getting an English-language remake should be seen as a cause for celebration though, because it was one of the very best crime films made in the last five years, and everyone should get a chance to see what it has to offer. Why are we even discussing this matter? Because, according to The Wrap, the film is indeed now planned to be given an English-language remake, by Fast & Furious producers Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe.

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This could have been the year that Taylor Kitsch became one of the biggest working actors on the planet. He already had a cult following for playing the dreamboat, bad boy role on TV’s Friday Night Lights coming into 2012, and that was before two of the biggest studios in Hollywood put him in the position to star in their big budget, tentpole summer releases. By starring in Battleship and John Carter, Kitsch experienced a few months of marketing blitz and media saturation that have only been matched by rare names like Will Smith and Tom Cruise. If his movies had become hits, he would be seen as one of the hottest faces in the movie industry today. But his movies weren’t hits. Kitsch got back-to-back shots at breaking into the world of blockbuster superstardom, and he experienced back-to-back failures. If anything, studios must be looking at the kid like he’s box office poison. So, what should the young actor do now that his career is visibly faltering? Taking a step back from the blockbusters and making something less hyped and less ambitious seems about right. How about an English language remake of a well-liked Québécois dramedy?

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While we were all busy lamenting the fact that David Gordon Green has given up making interesting indie films in favor of dumb comedies and arguing about whether or not his remake of Dario Argento’s Suspiria is a good idea or sacrilegious, he went and made a new movie without even telling us about it. The nerve! And turns out, not only does it sound like his new film is going to be a return to smaller, more interesting storytelling, but it’s also going to be a preview of what it looks like when he takes a foreign film and adapts it. Green’s new project is called Prince Avalanche, but it’s a remake of an Icelandic film from 2011 called Either Way. In the original, two men played by Hilmar Guðjónsson and Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson spend their summer painting lines on the roads that stretch into remote parts of northern Iceland and end up meeting danger and experiencing personal growth. In Green’s remake the two men are played by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, and apparently they’re going to be painting lines on roads that exist somewhere that looks a lot like Austin, Texas; because Twitch confirms that the film was shot there last month.

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The ridiculous trend of foreign language films getting English-language remakes immediately after they leave theaters marches on. This time around we’ve got Brian De Palma looking to remake the French film Crime d’amour, which just opened in U.S. theaters in September. The original film is a sort of psychological thriller in which a high-powered executive played by Kristin Scott Thomas takes on a young assistant, played by Ludivine Sagnier, so that she can toy with and corrupt her. A turn happens, however, when Thomas’s character overestimates the Sagnier character’s innocence and naiveté, and eventually the student becomes the master of manipulation. I haven’t seen it, but it sounds kind of sexy. De Palma is taking the film, which was released in the U.S. as Love Crime, and remaking it as Passion. And according to a report from Indiewire, he’s got his two lead actresses in mind. Apparently he’s looking to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows co-stars Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams to fill the roles, and is currently in negotiations to sign them up.

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He hasn’t even started shooting yet on the next Hugh Jackman-starring superhero movie The Wolverine, but director James Mangold has already got his next project ready and waiting. Mangold and his producing partner Cathy Konrad have procured the remake rights to an Icelandic film called City State, which was something of a crime film, and Mangold intends on directing said remake himself. I don’t even think that City State has been released in the States, so I don’t know anything about it, but it was made by a filmmaker named Olaf de Fleur Johannesson, and according to the Mangold story that appeared on Deadline Heimaey it tells the story of four lives that intersect when foreign drug lords try to take over the Icelandic drug trade. The four characters include, “ … a crooked police captain in love with a prostitute, an aging crime boss with a heart condition looking to get out of the game alive, a mechanic determined to avenge the death of his unborn child, and a female cop who is attacked by thugs and takes matters into her own hands.” Probably my favorite thing that Mangold has done is Copland, which was also a character piece set largely in a criminal underworld, so it sounds to me like this project would be a good fit for him. The Wolverine I’m still kind of worried about though, because his work on Kate & Leopold did NOT convince me that he could direct Hugh Jackman as a believable […]

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You want big things to happen to your little movie? The secret seems to be to get it in as an entry to TIFF’s Midnight Madness program. The good news just keeps rolling in for films that played at midnight at this year’s festival. First up for a Hollywood remake was director Gareth Evans’s Indonesian SWAT team movie The Raid, which was very nearly just one non-stop action sequence. Then there was news that Adam Wingard’s home invasion horror flick You’re Next was being purchased by Lionsgate and set up for a wide release. And now Midnight Madness hits the hat trick, as THR reports that director Frédéric Jardin’s French thriller Sleepless Night is next in line for an English language remake. Sleepless Night is the story of a dad, a drug deal, dirty cops, a stabbing, a kidnapped son, a big bag of cocaine, and a nightclub all coming together to create chaos. Like The Raid, it’s getting a lot of comparisons to Die Hard because it’s full of action and takes place mostly in one setting.

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