A still from Jorge Michel Grau's "Somo Lo Que Hay (We Are What We Are)"
Unlike Matt Reeves' U.S. adaptation of the Swedish horror flick "Let the Right One In, "Stake Land" director Jim Mickle's adaptation of Jorge Michel Grau's "Somo Lo Que Hay (We Are What We Are)" will be more of a reimagining than a remake.
"Somo Lo Que Hay" is a film about a family of cannibals lurking about unnoticed in a poor Mexican neighborhood. The family's survival slowly becomes threatened when the police catch on. When the team behind the remake sat down to figure out how they would tackle the project, they realized there was no way the script could just be put into Google Translate and shot in a similar setting.
For one, as Rodrigo Bellott, one of the film's producers, told Indiewire, "Just the element of the police alone. The police in the U.S. and the police in Mexico work so differently. The new script has a surprising turn of events that turns very horrific. We're working with several genres trying to make something new."
"In the original, it's ambiguous where the cult came from. As we rewrite, they've been having a lot of fun developing how the cult came about, which helps for the story."
The team is now on draft three of their script, and they've been keeping the details under wraps, even as they went after financiers and distributors for pre-sales in Berlin's European Film Market. "People are excited; we got an amazing response. Jorge and Jim are two guys very highly considered in the genre."
Bellott has been working on the project with producers Andrew Corkin ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") and Memento Film International's Nick Shumaker ("Another Earth"), and Linda Moran and Rene Bastian at Belladonna. A few months ago, the team decided Jim Mickle, the director of the breakout horror "Stake Land," would be their helmer for the reimagining.
For all of the members of the team, the idea of reimagining Grau's original film was essential. Bellott told Indiewire, "Even before Jim came on board, we talked about how, as filmmakers, we have this fear of remakes, especially when the original is a good movie. We thought, 'What can we do so that we can bring this story to American audiences?' We could do a frame-by-frame remake, but that makes no sense. Or we could reinterpret what the film is about.
"We explained this to Jorge, because I would hate if someone tried to make my film better. I'd be angry."
Casting is set to begin at the end of March or beginning of April (a casting director was just hired last week). Production starts in upstate New York in June.
"We Are What We Are"
Director: Jim Mickle
Screenwriters: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici
Producers: Andrew Corkin, Rodrigo Bellott, Nicholas Shumaker, Linda Moran, Rene Bastian