Despite their great success with Pan's Labyrinth, which did pretty well in the U.S. for a foreign-language film, New Line apparently expects less of a mainstream reception for The Orphanage (El Orfanato). According to Variety, the studio is looking to remake the Spanish film, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona with supervision from Guillermo Del Toro, director of Pan's Labyrinth. Del Toro is actually on board to produce the English-language version, and if he's a good man, he'll make sure Bayona gets to redo his own work for a wider audience. Back when Picturehouse bought the distribution rights to The Orphanage, Del Toro said that Bayona's footage blew him away, so I can't imagine he'd prefer someone else to helm the remake. Of course, I'm shocked that he would be fine with the film being remade in the first place. If the original really is so good, there's no reason for an Americanized take on it. Knowing the way Hollywood works, though, it is more likely that another foreign filmmaker will make his English-language debut with this project, while Bayona will direct a remake of someone else's film (and so on).
Like many popular Spanish horror films, The Orphanage is a ghost story. Well, it features a supernatural imaginary friend, which sounds a lot like a ghost. The original, written by Sergio G. Sánchez, stars Bélen Rueda as a woman who returns to her childhood home with plans to turn it into an orphanage for disabled children. Unfortunately, her son gets a new imaginary friend, who just so happens to be the same imaginary friend that she had when she was a kid. And he terrorized her back then. Yep, sounds like he's actually a ghost. Last month, we shared the trailer with you, and while it didn't show much, it still had the promise of something truly creepy (did you see that scarecrow-faced kid?). Personally, I'd rather check it out as soon as possible than wait for the English-language version. Seriously, what's a few subtitles matter when you're being scared out of your wits? The original Orphanage played at Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals to good reviews, and it screens tonight at the Toronto Film Festival (from where our own Scott Weinberg is raving about it). Picturehouse, a partnership between New Line and HBO, is giving the film a limited release in December.