Hollywood film director and producer McG has announced he will be directing a remake/reboot of the Academy Award-winning 1982 film Sophie's Choice. The decision by Universal to return to the material is part of a broader strategy by studios to "remonetize" critically-acclaimed properties from earlier eras of film, which some critics have seen as an excuse to avoid taking risks on new ideas. McG, whose prior work includes the Charlie's Angels film franchise and acclaimed TV teen drama The O.C., says he is looking forward to seeing what he can contribute to such a powerful story. More details below the fold.
This from the press release:
According to studio sources, the script currently under development is not as dark as the original Meryl Streep drama, based on perception among the producers that today's audiences would be less responsive to unleavened tragedy. "This is a very powerful story," said Producer Eli Green, who had signed on to guide the new film through script development. "And in order to really tell it properly, audiences need to see both sides of this character who has been through so much. That approach has been a big influence in our casting decisions."Specifically, Green is referring to the decision to cast Kristen Stewart in the lead role of Sophie, which has proved controversial due to her relative youth and dearth of serious dramatic roles. Stewart is best known for her roles in the "Twilight" franchise based on the vampire-themed novels targeted at young teenage girls, and while one of Hollywood's most highly-paid actresses, has never been cast in a prestigious leading role. When asked about the role, Stewart said she hoped to bring a sense of "youthful energy" and "zestiness" to Sophie. "Of course she went through this horrible tragedy," she told Variety, "but her resiliency is in how she learns to enjoy life again, and I want to show that."
However, Stewart wasn't the only controversial casting decision. McG's insistence on typically comedic actor Michael Cera in the leading male role of Stingo has also raised eyebrows, and there have been critical complaints that the talent is not heavy enough or appropriate for the material. Asked about the casting of Cera, McG said he was highly impressed with the actor's performance in 2007 indie comedy Juno, and believed the sensibilities it displayed could translate to more dramatic acting. "Michael has real talent, and is absolutely the right choice for this role."
But what really has the rumor mill abuzz are reports - which those involved the project will not deny - that there will be surrealistic scenes involving musical numbers and even computer-generated animals, with early drafts of the script including a number of references to motion-capture scenes. Whether these reports are accurate can't yet be established, but McG's statements suggest a significant change of direction for the remake versus the 1982 film:
"I want to make it clear that this isn't just going to be a copy. We are doing some things differently than in the original," McG told Variety. "It was a brilliant film for its time, and we all appreciate that, but there is more to the story that can be told." Part of that different approach may be why animation studio Pixar has reportedly signed on to the project, although its exact role is not yet known.If this is true, I just think that's horrible what they're trying to do to this classic film. And coming so soon on the heels of the announcement about the upcoming Godfather reboot being made with a hip-hop soundtrack, and the Michael Bay remake of 2001: A Space Odyssey, it just seems like nothing at all is sacred to Hollywood. They've also announced plans to reboot Spiderman again, and are experimenting with two parallel reboots so they can split the franchise into two simultaneous money-making streams. But handing Sophie's Choice over to action movie and teen drama hack McG to turn into a romantic comedy just puts an exclamation point on the sickness.