Set Visit Preview: A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street remake logo

On Thursday June 25th, I had the oppurtunity to visit the set of Platinum Dunes’ remake/re-imagining of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

With a Comic Con panel scheduled for later this week, Warner Bros has given us the green light to post a short preview piece, giving you a no-so-detailed tease of some of the stuff we saw, and our impressions. As you must know by now, instead of writing up a boring block of text, I’ve instead opted to record a short video blog with Frosty from Collider, who also visited the Chicago set.

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The notion of remaking Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Birds was absurd from day one, and now the Platinum Dunes guys are suggesting they’ve started to see the light. “We lay ourselves out there and get annihilated out there online all day long,” said producer Brad Fuller during a chat with journos on the set of A Nightmare on Elm St., “and [The Birds] just opens us up to a whole different level of annihilation.” What’s the conclusion? “…it doesn’t feel like that’s up next for us.” More pecking around the corpse of The Birds and the (still?) planned Rosemary’s Baby re-do after the jump. Read More »

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Update: /Film commenter, Infrafan, points out that a “snowbound” setting opens up the following scenario: Jason finds himself on a frozen lake. Jason then “plays hockey” with the decapitated head of an AXE body spray model or a fake breast. Knowing Platinum Dunes, we could actually see this happening.

Even though last February’s Friday the 13th opened to $44 million domestic but failed to crack the $100m milestone due to underwhelming word-of-mouth and stunted effort to make a definitive and fun entry, Platinum Dunes made a killing on the $16 million budget. Semi-good news: The horror company’s go-to director Marcus Nispel will not be back for the previously announced sequel. Uber-bad news: Unfortunately, Nispel will take his exhausted MTV-metallic sheen and ridiculously back-lit atmospherics to Conan instead. Ryan Rotten at STYD spoke recently with PD producer, Brad Fuller, who felt the need to fess up to fans’ criticisms of the first film and reveal the “hook” for the sequel.

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Movie Review: Friday the 13th

I’m of the opinion that the horror/slasher movie remakes we’ve seen in recent years aren’t categorically a bad idea. Perhaps it’s because the originals aren’t terribly sacred to me but I’m actually mildly fascinated by the creative process that goes with unearthing old or foreign properties like The Hills Have Eyes or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then modernizing them by adding intricate set design & art direction, moody music-video-style lighting, and some heavily stylized filmmaking. But while some horror remakes have done all these things and also gone on to deliver thought-provoking and gut-wrenching cinema, others put in only enough effort to coast on the reputation of their predecessors. Which category does Marcus Nispel’s new Friday the 13th fall under?
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For everyone out there who has ever participated in a late-night slumber party, examined the Ouija board game during an intense sharing session, and thought to themselves “This board game could be the basis for a kickass movie,” I have two things to say: 1) What on earth is wrong with you? and 2) Good news! Although we first reported on a Ouija-based film way back in May 2008, Producer Brad Fuller recently informed Sci Fi Wire that he’s very close to hiring a “very high-level” writer to draft a script for Platinum Dunes’ Ouija-themed film. While promoting Friday the 13th, Fuller explained, “I don’t think we’ve closed the deal, so I can’t say, but we’ve got a very high-level writer to write that, and we start writing it, I think, within the month.”
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While at Comic Con, I got the opportunity to sit down and talk one-on-one with Friday the 13th producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, both of whom were nice enough to give me the lowdown as to what stage of production their other upcoming remakes are currently at.

Here’s what they said about each…

The Birds – “Martin Campbell is going to be directing that. Naomi Watts has said that she wants to star in the movie. We have a treatment that we’re submitting to the studio in the next week or so. And if they sign off on that treatment, we’ll go to script, and hopefully we’ll have a script that’s shootable next summer.”

Nightmare on Elm Street – “We don’t have a deal to do that yet. We’re hoping that will happen soon. But as of today, we don’t have a deal. New Line hired a writer, Wesley Strick, to start writing it. And we have nothing to do with it except maybe ask them to hire us.”

“We’re close. A deal’s being set.”

Rosemary’s Baby – “We’re in the process of hiring a writer, to kind of update that movie. That’s the next movie that we’re making with Paramount Studios.”

For those that don’t know, Martin Campbell is the director of Casino Royale, so as far as I’m concerned, a remake of The Birds might very likely be excellent. That doesn’t necessarily mean it should be made, but I definitely have more faith in it than these other two potential projects. I can at least see a new version of The Birds existing without detracting from the original, but attempting to remake Rosemary’s Baby just seems beyond pointless. And it’s kind of hard to have any high hopes for Nightmare on Elm Street when the only name connected to it as of now is Wesley Strick, the screenwriter for The Glass House and Doom.

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“Listen, we’re going to have this remake, okay? And it’s going to be great, babe.”

With their stint at Crystal Lake going swimmingly, Platinum Dunes slithered out of the devil’s bedroom to talk about their upcoming remake of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby a.k.a Why Not? Michael Bay Made Transformers. Producer Brad Fuller more or less explained my alternative title for their remake to STYD

“If we don’t do Rosemary’s Baby someone else is,” says Fuller. “They’re not going to pass on that. …All the shit we get for doing these things, it really just comes from being huge fans and wanting to take a shot.”

Fuller’s is the greatest justification, not just for remaking classic films, but for everything in life. What Fuller is trying to say is, “we just want to do hood rat things for our friends.” And I’m curious to know who the “they’re” he’s referring to is. Hahah. Did he get a phone call from a smoking man who said, “A Rosemary’s Baby remake has been discussed by another studio, and the actresses mentioned for Rosemary simply aren’t hot enough. And it might be PG-13.”?

“Platinum Dunes, saving moviegoers from unknown disappointment since 2008.” – thankful moviegoer

Not really sure I follow what this next quote is trying to convey…

“You would say Rosemary’s Baby supernatural story, so one of our takes is supernatural, the other is not supernatural. It takes that story and roots it in reality and that’s going to be a decision that we’re going to have to make soon as we wrap Friday the 13th …and start sitting down with Paramount as to what kind of story do they want us to tell for them and what’s the smartest way to tell that story.”

Does this mean that the original film’s spawn of Satan storyline and the coven would be excluded? I don’t know, but it’s pretty funny. Platinum Dunes is not really based in reality in my opinion, but that’s not a bad thing.

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Yesterday, Edward Norton released a winding mini-essay dismissing the bad buzz looming over The Incredible Hulk. Problem is, while his statement quasi neutralized the film’s rumored inner problems, it did nothing to convince fans and general moviegoers that his film was going to, quite simply, kick the ass of Ang Lee’s prior Hulk. In contrast, today producer Brad Fuller not only colorfully addressed the weak rumor(s) circulating on the Net that Platinum DunesFriday the 13th reboot would go oh-so-trendy PG-13, he practically threw up a devil’s fist and upped expectations for the nth Jason Voorhees installment due in 2009. This is a solid rendition of “Fanboooy, Please!” Take note, Hollywood. As told to Bloody Disgusting

“None of our remakes have been PG-13,” says producer Brad Fuller. “How do you remake a rated R horror movie and take the guts out literally and figuratively? What is F13 without sex, drugs and a really, really long sharp machete? And why would we, horror fans ourselves, produce a movie devoid of the things that made the title so appealing in the first place. So let me say for the record, that the F13 that we start shooting this Thursday is a full bodied, rated R film.

“It has insane kills that will be shown in all their glory- it has a group of college students who drink and even have sex. We are betting that if we don’t hold back that the audience will reward us for being bold in a time when some horror movies are playing the ratings game. So we embrace the R-rating Friday the 13th will have…”

Sans the ’50s-conjuring “and even have sex!” portion, Fuller’s quotes are akin to him putting his dress shoes up on a huge desk, lighting a choice cigar and saying “We know exactly what you want to see.” I’ve said it before but F13 plays to all of Platinum Dunes’ and director Marcus Nispel’s populist strengths. Fuller clearly understands that the onset of ProActiv horror like Prom Night, while profitable, automatically if curiously positions the company’s contributions as the cooler horror alternative for…remakes.

When a recent R-rated horror flick like The Ruins, based on a bestselling horroriller novel, sinks to the bottom of the box office without a trace, this is prime time to stir up the anticipation while stating your film’s and company’s relevance, and it’s good news, if unsurprising, to boot. When it comes to genre fare, give ‘em what they want so you can legitimately tell ‘em what they want to hear, and the earlier the better.

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