Hannah Shaw Williams writes for Bleeding Cool:
Hey kids, do you like controversial topics? Well here's one back to kick off some healthy debate: American remakes of foreign films, specifically remakes of films that have only just been made.
We saw it happen with [Rec], we saw it happen with Let The Right One In, and now Norwegian indie action horror Trollhunter is getting an American remake by Harry Potter director Chris Columbus, who has just bought the rights to the film through his production company 1492 Pictures.
The new script is being written by Marc Haimes, who is also writing the Gremlins-esque Jitters for Paramount and vampire film Elevator Men for Summit. The announcement was just made on Deadline and Trollhunter was released in the US this week, so it's possible that Columbus has been sitting on this one for a while and waiting for the most timely moment to announce it. Here's what he has to say.
Trollhunter was a visceral, thrilling, cinematic rock and rollercoaster ride of a movie. Visually, there are scenes in this film that American audiences have never seen. We want to introduce an international audience to this amazing moviegoing experience.
Introduce it to an international audience? Hey, Columbus, have you ever heard of subtitles? I remember the days when there were easier ways to get a movie seen than to completely remake it. It's almost certain that the remake will cost much more than the original film, which writer-director André Øvredal made for around $3.5m, with help from a Norwegian film funding organisation.
The film is a mockumentary about a group of students who decide to investigate some local deaths, reportedly committed by wild bears but in fact the work of a roaming troll. Aong the way, they meet the eponymous Trolljegeren, played by Otto Jespersen, who is also hunting for the beast. Hijinks ensue.
I generally hold a dim view of remakes, and it makes me sad that André Øvredal has put so much work into his film, only to have American audiences spoon-fed an Americanised version instead of getting to see the original, which has received a great deal of critical praise in early reviews.
If Columbus took a tenth of the budget he plans to use to remake Trollhunter and spent it on helping to market and distribute the original film, then I would consider that money well-spent.
I've refused to put up with the excuse that Americans can't read subtitles ever since Inglourious Basterds grossed over $320m worldwide, despite the fact that a good two-thirds of the film is subtitled. Speaking as a filmmaker, if I was given a cool few million to make a movie with, I wouldn't waste it on copying someone else's film.
I'm aware that good remakes exist: John Carpenter's The Thing is possibly my favourite horror film of all time; Let Me In surprised everyone by being arguably as good as the original; and Gore Verbinski's The Ring was every bit as scary as Ringu. However, this doesn't mean that every non-English language film needs to be remade.
I'll say this for Chris Columbus, though: I never would have heard of Trollhunter were it not for this announcement, and having read reviews it's definitely one that I plan to check out.