Next Asian unmakeable remake, Audition
After the remake of Oldboy it seems that Hollywood has the belief it can remake more Asian horror/thrillers that previously were believed to be un-remake-able. I know that isn't even a word, but it should be.
The news has arrived, and has piqued my interest back to the keyboard, that Audition is to be remade. Also known as Ôdishon, adapted from the Ryû Murakami novel by Daisuke Tengan, and directed byTakashi Miike.
Now I'm going to take an unusual stand on this one, and perhaps upset a few people, but I now think they can do it, and if you don't then you need to have a look at the Spike Lee remake of Oldboy.
When I first heard about the Oldboy (Filmstalker review) remake, and that was way back in May of 2006, I hardly believed it was possible, after all when thinking about Oldboy your mind instantly flips to the scene in the sushi restaurant, to the pleading apartment scene, and to the final revelation. Thinking of those moments it seems like it could never be filmed for mainstream cinema, much less for a business focussed on PG-13 audiences.
However the team behind the new Oldboy did just that, and one reason why they did make it work is that it wasn't a remake, they concentrated on the original source material and adapting that to a more mainstream film. To be fair though it wasn't that far off the original film, there were even scenes which were very reminiscent - the fight scene was very similar and despite showing the promise of something new and exciting, it failed to deliver on that promise. Exploiting the levels as the original had focussed on the corridor could have been a stroke of genius.
There were other moments like these that didn't quite deliver as well as they could have, but overall it was a good film and there were still surprises to be had. The problem was that it was up against such a strong first film adaptation and a lot of the audience had already seen it.
Regardless, the Hollywood version of Oldboy turned out to be a good film with strong performances from some powerful actors, and in the end it was an entertaining and enjoyable thriller that still provided a strong twist or two.
What it wasn't was a completely watered down and ineffectual version of the first film, something that a lot of people were expecting. So why should Audition?
Audition is in a similar place to Oldboy, in fact you could say that it is easier to remake than Oldboy was.
Did I just hear a sharp intake of breath across the interverse? Yes, I think it would be easier to remake but also a good remake. Let's also remember that the Oldboy remake is not actually a remake of the film but of the story from the graphic novel, Audition too will be reverting to the source material, the novel by the Japanese author Ryu Murakami (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com).
If you think back to the Audition story then there is most likely only one big scene that comes to the fore in your mind, just like the key scenes in Oldboy. Unlike Oldboy these scenes aren't as difficult to remake for western cinema, if they are indeed the same as the original novel. Even if they don't carry the same weight as they do in Oldboy, they aren't so pivotal to the plot. They key is how they make you change your view of what has come before and the shock value to make you realise just what can happen, but the film could achieve that without going so far.
There's my point about the film. What do you remember more? The clever way it makes you think about how you don't really know people and how exposed you are in relationships and dating, or needles and piano wire?
I do believe that Audition could be remade and could be remade well.
The story from Deadline through The Guardian tells us that Mario Kassar is the producer behind the film, you may remember the name from many big projects but perhaps most for the Terminator series, and that he has Richard Gray to direct and script the American remake. Gray directed Mine Games, Blinder and the upcoming The Lookalike.
This version will tell the story in a very similar fashion, obviously moving it to an American setting with American characters, it is going to be very similar to the original story. Here's how they describe it:
Sam Davis, who lives alone with his son following the death of his wife seven years prior and is convinced by a filmmaker friend to stage the fake auditions. The former ballerina with a mysterious past he falls for is now named Evie Lawrence, but otherwise details fall closely in line with Murakami's best-seller.
It is very similar but it'll still work I believe, and it sounds like Gray could give it a good go. Chances are though we may well see it change hands a few times before it makes it to the big screen, but we'll see.
Do you think Audition could make it? Surely if they can do Oldboy they can do Audition?