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Martyrs Hollywood remake gains director

Martyrs.jpgI do find this a little hard to understand how it will work out, but then I don't think that Martyrs was as difficult to watch as some believe, so a Hollywood remake won't be that difficult, as long as they don't try and make it a PG-13.

Remade though it will be, and now there's a director attached to the film. Daniel Stamm, the man who directed The Last Exorcsim, is set to direct the U.S. remake of Martyrs.

For those of you who have seen it I'd be interested to hear what you think and how you believe they could make it work in Hollywood without making it overly safe. For those of you who haven't, I'd suggest seeing the original film, while there are some flaws, it's a good film that does affect you.

Martyrs (Filmstalker review) tells the story of a girl called Lucie who has been missing for over a year and is found wondering, near hysterical, at the side of a road. When the police interview her they find her traumatised and unable, or unwilling, to tell what happened to her or who did it. It's obvious though that she has undergone physical abuse in the time of her captivity.

There's a lot of talk of how this film just couldn't be remade in the U.S., but I disagree, as long as there's not a religious uproar or a need to throw a PG-13 label on the film, I think they could actually correct the flaws in the original and make it better, however there's a big hill to climb.

Back when we first heard about the remake of Pascal Laugier's Martyrs in March 2009, I was negative, and very vocally so:

Really? For those of you who have seen the film I think you would be questioning how they could possibly make it without ending up with a huge MPAA sticker on it screaming that it's evil and should be banned from being seen by any god-fearing Christian.

I can still see that view, but when I started reading about the remake I had hope. Despite the fact that one of the Twilight producers was working on the film, but then Wyck Godfrey had quite the diverse range of films under his wing, so that wasn't such a bad sign.

Better news was that Mark L. Smith, who also wrote The Hole and Vacancy (Filmstalker review), revealed that he'd turned in a script for the remake. Now that was sounding good.

However we know how much Hollywood can rewrite, change and bend to marketing pressure, never mind the MPAA and the Christian/Victorian values.

Unfortunately there's no word of who is the current writer on the project, but with Daniel Stamm on board as director, there's some hope that Martyrs will retain its edge in Hollywood. Speaking to L.A. Times 24 Frames Stamm said of the original:

”Martyrs is very nihilistic...The American approach [that I'm looking at] would go through all that darkness but then give a glimmer of hope. You don't have to shoot yourself when it's over.”

What? Okay endings change, that can work, it doesn't have to be a frame by frame remake, in fact those inevitably turn out bad. However isn't some of the appeal of Martyrs the nihilistic approach? The darkness of it all and what happens to those surviving in the end? Obviously I can't say too much without giving the end away, but those who have seen it will know what I mean.

So what's Stamm saying here? Is he suggesting that there will be a positive, happier ending to the film? If you think of the storyline and how it turns out it seems hard to believe that it could turn around and become something positive without losing a huge portion of what the story is about and what it becomes.

Then he goes on to talk about some of the themes of the film, and what strikes me is the lack of discussion about the main theme, the one that would perhaps upset the religious groups the most.

”Every time you think you know where it's going, it goes somewhere else. It plays on things that are familiar — like two friends who can't be separated, kind of a Forrest Gump and Jenny situation. But then it takes a turn, and in doing so asks interesting quesitons. 'If you have a best friend in the world and she goes crazy, how much do you owe this friend to go down with them?' It's much more than a horror film.”

Now it could be he's just not talking about it, it really could be that he's really interested in the opening half and how to improve that without removing those second half and closing themes. That really could be the case couldn't it?

It could also be the case that the script is already sanitised and that the closing themes of Martyrs have been reworked, lessened down, and perhaps removed so as not to upset the religious groups that would be so vocal should Martyrs have received a U.S. wide release and grab media attention.

I'm still hopeful, but do you think that Martyrs (Filmstalker review) can be remade successfully in the U.S.?




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