Usually I can just let news of remakes go. The complaint against them just becomes repetitive, studios and filmmakers shrug at the critical outcry, and at the end of the day you can just ignore the remake and go back to loving the original. But with Rod Lurie’s remake of Sam Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs”, I just can’t do that. It’s such a fundamentally bad idea that it’s up there with Ted Turner’s decision to colorize old black-and-white movies. Now Variety reports that Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard have joined James Marsden on this doomed voyage. Hit the jump to find out what roles they’ll be play and how they’ll pale in comparison to the ones in the original.
Variety’s description is so wildly misleading, that I have to reprint it in full:
Marsden plays a Hollywood screenwriter who relocates with his wife to her hometown in Mississippi. Bosworth plays the wife, who left the South for LA. to become an actress and returns home so her husband can finish his script in quiet. Skarsgard plays her high school boyfriend, an ex-football hero who sees the return of his former girlfriend as a way to reclaim glory.
“…as a way to reclaim glory.” And tell me, Variety, how does he go about doing that? He opens up a big old box of RAPE. Yes, rape, which the original handled in a controversial and thought-provoking manner whereas I have no doubt that Lurie’s remake will unequivocally say “Rape is bad.” Boy, thanks for the lesson there, Rod.
The greater work revolves around notions of modern masculinity but this has all gone so wrong. The South is not rural England (although we sure do appreciate the branding) and James Marsden is a completely 180 from Dustin Hoffman because a heterosexual character who looks like Marsden would never wrestle with his masculinity because HE LOOKS LIKE JAMES MARSDEN. This is going to go wrong on so many levels. This isn’t a slam against any actor’s ability. There is no saving this project. It has already run aground. Save yourself while you still can.
Filming is set to begin in Louisiana this August. I would really appreciate it if someone could go down there, stand behind Rod Lurie and just constantly shout at him “DON’T DO IT.”