Director Nicolas Winding Refn is currently at Cannes with his new film “The Neon Demon,” about an aspiring model (Elle Fanning) who moves to Los Angeles and is recruited by a fashion mogul (Alessandro Nivola) as his muse but soon finds her vitality devoured by a modeling industry who wants to take what she has. Now, Deadline reports that Refn has his next project already in the pipeline: A remake of Michael Reeves’ 1968 cult horror classic “Witchfinder General,” which follows witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) as they visit village after village torturing confessions out of suspected witches during the English Civil War. The film was released in the United States under the title “The Conqueror Worm,” where it was acclaimed by critics like J. Hoberman and Danny Peary. It gained a cult following after Reeves’ untimely death of alcohol and barbiturate overdose just months after the film’s release. Refn is set to produce the film, not to direct it, and is currently debating whether they should contemporize the story or not. Refn also said he sees himself in Reeves and wants to do justice to the “very visual and contemporary film.”
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Refn is best known for his 2011 film “Drive,” starring Ryan Gosling as a stunt performer who moonlights as a getaway driver. It received a standing ovation at its Cannes premiere and Refn won the Best Director Award for the film. It also received a Best Sound Editing nomination at the Oscars. His other films include the “Pusher” series, about the Copenhagen Underworld, “Bronson,” a fictionalized biography of English criminal Charles Bronson, and most recently, the thriller “Only God Forgives,” which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
The “Witchfinder General” remake will go into production next year.