One of my most anticipated films for 2007 has suddenly dropped down the list. Normally, I know better than to have high expectations for a movie, but Warner Bros.' decision to do yet another take of Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers starring Nicole Kidman and directed by The Downfall'sOliver Hirschbiegel had me pretty darn excited. But now, according to TMZ, the studio is unsatisfied with the ending of the film, which is titled The Invasion. Supposedly it just isn't thrilling enough, which could actually be more a problem with the way Hirschbiegel shot the film than with the way the screenwriter, Dave Kajganich, wrote it. Either way, producer Joel Silver has hired Andy and Larry Wachowski to rewrite the ending. In my opinion, this was the wrong move, because I think The Wachowskis are pretty horrible writers. I know a lot of people don't agree, though, and those people will likely be more interested in this film because of the Wachowskis' involvement. It isn't clear in the report whether or not Hirschbiegel will get to do the reshoot himself, or if The Wachowskis, who are currently set to direct Speed Racer, will take that job as well.

This is yet another example of why great foreign filmmakers should heed the call of Hollywood. I don't know if it is always the language-barrier problem, which supposedly made Jeunet's shooting of Alien: Resurrection difficult, or if it is that the studio way is hard to adjust to. Sure, for every Matthieu Kassovitz there is a Fernando Meirelles, and looking back through film history we see a plethora of great successes who transplanted well into Hollywood, but too often there comes another director not suited for the system. I bet that the original ending is pretty interesting, if not thrilling enough for a mass audience. After all, the ending to The Downfall was done extremely well --- and I don't mean story-wise, because obviously an ending with Hitler's death is a good ending.

This can't a great time for Hirschbiegel. Claudie Bobsin, who was his costume designer, just died of cancer. His breakthrough film, Das Experiment, is being made somewhat obsolete by a Hollywood remake. And now, his English-language debut is going through the old U.S. b.s. machine. Take my advice, foreign directors, don't come to America unless you are confident that you will beat the studio control.
categories Cinematical