Confirms Natalie Portman Was Once In Talks, But The Filmmaker Is Now Looking To Cast An Unknown
Exclusive: Filmmaker David Gordon Green is a busy guy. He’s got both “Your Highness” and “The Sitter” hitting this year, and he’s moving into television, with “Good Vibes” on MTV, and “Black Jack” at Comedy Central. Beyond that, his long-rumored remake of “Suspiria” looks like it will be next on his feature-film horizon. We spoke to Green in regards to “Your Highness” this weekend, which opens a week from Friday (April 8), and got the story on old school horror fans’ most anticipated remake.
“I’m hopefully going to get into a horror film, [‘Suspiria’] next. That’s the goal,” Green said about lining up the remake of the Dario Argento psych-horror classic as his next feature once he’s done directing the pilot to “Black Jack” next month.
“It’s an idea that came to me three years ago,” Green said, speaking of the script’s lengthy incubation process which he co-wrote with his sound-designer, which of course offered a completely new perspective as well. “That was an enlightening process. [Our ‘Suspiria’] doesn’t follow the trend of the traditional horror movies of late, so it’s a leap of faith, financially.” He also says that there won’t be many key differences, stating, “It’s actually very faithful. I’m gonna put my spin on it, but in terms of a pitch, it’s going to remain quite faithful to [the original].”
In the early days of the project, Natalie Portman was linked to the role, and while Green confirms those talks were real, it appears that ship has sailed. “We’ve been talking about it, then she decided to do ‘Black Swan,’ ” Green said, noting that Portman eventually shot “Your Highness” before moving onto “Black Swan.” As a result, don’t expect to recognize most of the cast. “I want an unknown cast, and I think she’s a little too old for it. My version isn’t necessarily about ballet, it’s more of an all-girls boarding school, so I think she’s probably too old to pass for a high school-er. I don’t think it will have names, but hopefully it will be at a studio. Because I definitely enjoy having a movie that gets marketed that people go to see.”
“But there’s no greater passport. ‘Suspiria’ is a great reason to move to Germany, hang out there for awhile, discover some new European cast members, find something scary,” Green explained, noting the line separating his comedies and something a bit more horrific is fairly thin. “There’s a lot of times where I’m sitting in the sound booth, thinking, ‘God, this is amazing.’ We could turn this into some ‘Eraserhead‘ shit, and then I’ll realize, ‘oh, wait, this is a comedy. I can’t do that.’ ”
As for his other projects, it does appear that Green has evolved from making smaller indie pictures to big studio comedies. But it wasn’t planned that way, as Green intended to move in another direction after his stoner medieval film. “After ‘Your Highness’ I wanted to do a character piece,” Green claims, something that probably excites fans of his earlier work. “I love working with kids, and I love working in New York City, so I literally had those guidelines. Character piece with kids in New York City — and I don’t want it to be a comedy. But then the script to ‘The Sitter’ showed up, and I was like, ‘okay, this is funny as shit.’ It’s got some great dramatic scenes. And it reminds me a lot of ‘Risky Business‘ and a lot of those types of movies I liked when I was a kid.”
This year you’ll get a double dose of David Gordon Green. “Your Highness” on April 8 — which you must see to believe how awesomely absurd it is — and “The Sitter” on December 9th. Much more from this interview soon. The trailer for the original “Suspiria” is below. — Reporting by RP.