Headhunters remake going the wrong direction?
It's ironic, if you get that sort of thing, that I was just writing about Headhunters and the fact it hasn't got a U.S. release because it'll probably be remade, something I've said before about the film since I saw it at the Glasgow Film Festival, and sitting in my queue of stories to look at and consider writing about was just the very thing.
The remake is already underway and there's a rather surprising star voicing his interest in the project, a star I'd personally hope they overlook for the remake, if it really does have to happen that is.
It was back in October of last year that we heard about the remake Headhunters based on the Jo Nesbø novel, and then it didn't really click with me as it was a novel my wife was reading and I knew the writer was doing very well for himself. The idea of a remake didn't really interest me, that was until I saw the film.
I need to get moving with writing up the review, but I can assure you it's an excellent thriller, and it's not in the usual mould of an action thriller because while there is action it is more about the story and the characters and we see that the two leads are not straight up action characters but have depth, humour, and are played with way more than your average growling Hollywood action star.
The problem I see for the remake is that Hollywood will fit it into the chase-action-thriller style of story and miss out everything that makes Headhunters so good, again more of that in the review when it arrives in the coming days.
That's the fear I have when I look back on that Deadline article about the remake rights being bought by Summit Entertainment for the Hollywood version, and it's even more the fear when I read the story from The Shortlist through First Showing about what star has met with the director and studio for the film.
Mark Wahlberg has apparently met with the director to look at joining the Headhunters remake, and for me he's an all out action actor that really would miss the main crux of either of the leading roles in the Headhunters film they're looking to remake, that is unless they are looking for a straight action film.
For me Mark Wahlberg has no real depth or conviction, in action films he's great and I enjoyed films like Shooter for that, but give him more than that, more depth to his character and more screen time and that's where he loses me.
Oh I know you'll say The Departed (Filmstalker review) and The Fighter (Filmstalker review), but those supporting roles have been far from eclipsed by his leads although I do admit that The Fighter was one of his best performances so far for me he just can't pull off subtle, something he didn't really need to in The Fighter.
So the idea of him playing one of the leads in Headhunters feels all wrong because these characters are about the much more slickly and subtly played adversarial relationship. You can see it across the boardroom table when they meet or over a glass of champagne at the art gallery, you can see it even when they are chasing each other down.
Before I go on, here's a blurb for Headhunters so you get the idea:
Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter, and he’s a master of his profession. But one career simply can’t support his luxurious lifestyle and his wife’s fledgling art gallery. At an art opening one night he meets Clas Greve, who is not only the perfect candidate for a major CEO job, but also, perhaps, the answer to his financial woes: Greve just so happens to mention that he owns a priceless Peter Paul Rubens painting that’s been lost since World War II—and Roger Brown just so happens to dabble in art theft. But when he breaks into Greve’s apartment, he finds more than just the painting. And Clas Greve may turn out to be the worst thing that’s ever happened to Roger Brown.
For the role of Roger Brown, played by Aksel Hennie, in the original, you need someone who can pull off being rich and powerful and also have the most beautiful model wife on his arm, be ruthless in the boardroom, meticulous in a balaclava, but filled with self doubt, fear and a degree of self-loathing, at least at the beginning of the film. For Clas Greve, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the original, you need someone who has personality, charm, could work at the highest levels of a corporation and yet get his hands dirty and do what needs to be done without a second thought.
Neither of these sound like a Mark Wahlberg performance, not in the film that I saw anyway, so it either means that the Headhunters remake is going all out action or this is just another rumour that won't make it through to casting.
For me, I hope it's the latter.