‘Straw Dogs’ Remake is Unfortunately Still Happening and James Marsden is Aboard

Smiling? Crying? Will Lurie’s remake match the intensity?

Photo: MGM Studios

Good lord, talk about an absolutely needless remake. I consistently see the updated release date for the Rod Lurie written and directed remake of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs and I continue to say to myself, I don’t believe it will ever happen. The most recent release date is set for August 13, 2010 and it appears no matter how much I talk to myself, it isn’t going to stop this runaway train from derailing into a cinema near you.

Lurie’s Straw Dogs is set up at Screen Gems and has just gained its first cast member in the form of James Marsden who will play the role originated by Dustin Hoffman in the 1971 original in which Hoffman played an astrophysicist who moved with his wife to her hometown in Cornwall, England in an attempt to getaway from the overbearing rise in American violence and to find relative peace and quiet. As the story plays out things don’t end up working out as hoped. The remake, however, is going to make things a bit easier on the audience, set it all in America and use the deep South as a stereotypical scapegoat.

Word from The Hollywood Reporter is the film will center on 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.

The social and political aspects of the original are what made it such a gem as the primal and savage violence portrayed on screen added to the plot and I can’t help but believe this remake will be all guts and no thinking.

I wrote about the film extensively after watching it for the first time back in December 2007 (read about that here). The 1971 original is often thought to be one of the most controversial films of all time and the picture above is primarily the main reason for that. You tell me, is she smiling or crying in that pic? If you have seen the film you probably have your own answer. If you haven’t, give it a watch and then read my original editorial on the film and let me know your thoughts.

Just thinking about this movie makes me wish it was 1971 all over again (not like I was actually alive to experience it first hand) with Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange both in US theaters at the same time. It was the same year audiences also saw Dirty Harry, The French Connection, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Harold and Maude. Man, where has all the quality gone?


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