Well, as far as decisions regarding beloved films being callously remade, it could be a lot worse than MGM and Screen Gems tapping “Boys Don’t Cry” director Kimberly Peirce for their big screen redux of Stephen King‘s telekenetic horror show “Carrie.” The 1976 original film, as we all know, was directed by Brian De Palma and is, more or less (the “less” is that sped-up scene where the guys are trying on the tuxes), a masterpiece.
Peirce has had an interesting career trajectory – after making a huge splash (critically, if not commercially) with the tough-as-nails true life drama “Boys Don’t Cry,” back in 1999, we didn’t hear much from the filmmaker, and by 2006 she was directing episodes of the Showtime drama “The L Word.” In 2008 she finally returned with the Iraq war drama “Stop-Loss,” less about the battles than the toll it takes on the soldiers fighting that conflict. More recently she’s been attached to a number of projects, including a limited thriller series for USA, a true life murder mystery called “Silent Star,” South Central gangland drama “The Knife” and (of all things) a comedy for Judd Apatow. “Carrie” could be the thing that brings Peirce back into the spotlight in a way that could make some of these stalled projects suddenly viable.
The filmmaker will no doubt explore the film’s key issues of gender and sexuality in new and brazen ways, and she’s working from a script by the genuinely brilliant Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a noted comic book writer and playwright who has also scripted episodes of “Big Love” and, starting this year, joined the close-knit writing staff of “Glee.” He was also the writer who was brought in to help rescue Julie Taymor‘s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” an ace choice given his comic book pedigree (seriously, track down his Marvel Knights “Angel” miniseries). It’s unknown whether or not Aguirre-Sacasa will be sticking more closely to the De Palma version or incorporate elements from King’s novel that were abandoned for the initial adaptation. Either way, Aguirre-Sacasa knows how to adapt King, having tackled a multi-year “Stand” comic book for Marvel Comics.
“Carrie” has already been remake fodder. In 1999, MGM released “The Rage: Carrie 2,” a generally dismal remake/sequel, and the original was remade as a forgettable 2002 television film for NBC (it starred Angela Bettis in the Sissy Spacek role). There is also a new staging of the doomed 1988 Broadway musical, this time off-Broadway, that debuts this month in New York.
This “Carrie” remake is just one of a number of high profile Stephen King projects in the works. In addition to Warner Bros. pricey adaptation of King’s apocalyptic epic “The Stand” (this time with Ben Affleck directing), there is that ambitious “Dark Tower” adaptation by Ron Howard that is still looking for a home after Universal dumped it, and an adaptation of his just-released time travel mind-bender “11/22/63” that was optioned by Jonathan Demme to write and direct. There’s also an original musical King wrote (with John Mellencamp and T. Bone Burnett) called “The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” that takes the stage in Atlanta this spring. In other words: prepare to be spooked for the next couple of years. [Deadline]