In the latest example of the bromide that film crosses international borders, we have news from Variety of an American remake of a Japanese film to be directed by a Chinese filmmaker featuring a cast of American and Canadian actors. (Pardon me, but my head is still spinning.) Let's start with the cast, which includes a couple of names that may be familiar: Henry Thomas (E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Legends of the Fall) and Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, American Gangster) will star in Don't Look Up, the story of a film crew that slowly goes insane "when spirits from another era invade the film stock of the contempo production." Fruit Chan is set to direct.

Hideo Nakata directed the original film (Joyû-rei, AKA Ghost Actress), which was released in Japan in 1996. Two years later, Nakata made Ringu, which kicked off an Asian ghost movie boom that slackened only recently. In turn, the Hollywood remake of Ringu (The Ring) reaped big returns at the box office, which sparked the Asian remake mania we're still suffering from. Among other projects, Nakata remade his own sequel for Hollywood (The Ring Two) -- and then promptly retreated to Japan. He turned down offers from production company Distant Horizons to remake Don't Look Up himself. Fruit Chan made his reputation with several well-regarded, low-budget dramas (Made in Hong Kong, Durian Durian), quite an accomplishment in the populist-leaning Hong Kong film industry. More recently, as part of a trilogy of short films (Three: Extremes), he made Dumplings, a very good, atmospheric, creepy tale about a woman who fills her baked goods with human flesh. He later expanded it to A feature length version was released later. *

The original Don't Look Up was also atmospheric and creepy, so maybe that's why he was hired and why he may feel a kinship with the material. I just hope that Chan is not compelled to add an aggressive sound mix or fake "jump" scares in a vain attempt to dumb the material down or appeal to a wider audience. Filming gets underway in Los Angeles on April 14.

[ Via Fangoria ]

* UPDATED. Commenter Peter raised the question as to whether Dumplings was originally filmed as a short or as a feature. Research has not yet revealed a definitive answer -- reviews have it both ways -- so I've edited the sentence to allow for ambiguity.
categories Movies, Cinematical