James Marsden will star in Screen Gems’ reimagining of the 1971 thriller Straw Dogs, being written and directed by Rod Lurie, says The Hollywood Reporter.
The new version follows Los Angeles screenwriter David Sumner (Marsden), who moves with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, leading to a violent confrontation. Filming will begin in August.
The original, co-written and directed by Sam Peckinpah, saw Dustin Hoffman in the role of Sumner, with the story set in rural England.
Both films are based on the book “The Siege at Trencher’s Farm” by Gordon Williams.
UPDATE: Knowing something about the screenplay and the direction of the film, the casting of Marsden might be more appropriate than some might think. Firstly, the character isn’t meant to be the nebbish type, as he was played by Hoffman in the 1971 movie. Instead, Rod Lurie seems to be going back to the original novel as reference, and in his version, Marsden’s character is a screenwriter doing research on a film about Stalingrad, a pivotal battle during WWII where the Russians turned the tide on the German invasion. With that in mind, one could probably presume that Lurie’s military background from his time at West Point might come into play with how Marsden deals with the men who threaten him and his wife, but we’ll have to wait to see what the connection is between his WWII research and the American South, where the film takes place.