Late last week, we chatted with director Adam Wingard, the talented genre titan behind "The Guest," "You're Next" and last year's underrated "Blair Witch" reboot. While the main focus of our chat was "Death Note," his super fun adaptation of the popular Japanese manga that premieres on Netflix Friday, we had to ask about another project that was (at one point at least) on his radar -- an American remake of Kim Jee-woon's modern classic "I Saw the Devil."
For those of you unfamiliar with the original, it is easily classifiable as a horror epic (with a runtime of 141 minutes, it is definitely fitting). "I Saw the Devil" is the tale of a malicious serial killer whose latest victim is the beautiful young wife of a Korean secret service agent. Instead of just arresting him, the agent decides to play with the killer and, as you can imagine, things get incredibly out of hand. The movie is intense and visceral (it's the only screening invitation I ever got that actually warned viewers who are sensitive to the material that it might be best to stay home) but it's also beautiful and boldly told. For those who can handle the extreme levels of violence, it's something of a masterpiece -- operatic and assured. It's also scary as hell.
So it's understandable by Wingard and his writing partner Simon Barrett would be drawn to the material. But with Wingard relegated to duties on Legendary and Warner Bros' monster mash "Godzilla vs. Kong" (scheduled for a Memorial Day, 2020 release), we had to ask the status of the remake.
"'I Saw the Devil' is on hold for now until we figure out what's going on. Because 'Godzilla vs. Kong' just took precedence," Wingard said diplomatically. He says that "Godzilla vs. Kong" could take a while. "That's going to be a solid two-and-a-half years before I'm done with that," Wingard said. So, obviously, the project could go to another filmmaker.
"I've talked to my producer friends who are on board with 'I Saw the Devil' and left it with them. If they find somebody who is interested in doing it and they can match up with them, then they should do it," Wingard explained. Not that he's entirely ruled out the possibility of him directing it. "Never say never; there's a chance that it could come back around [to me]."
We asked how close he got to actually making the movie.
"It's one of those things where I was developing that for so many years and we had a great script. I even had the soundtrack picked out," Wingard said. That's pretty close. And while the filmmaker is upset if he doesn't get to make the project, he's just as thrilled to pit two of cinema's most famous monsters against each other. Wingard said: "It's really sad if it doesn't happen. But it's fine, too, because I've got pretty big things to deal with right now."
Wingard's "Death Note" premieres on Netflix this Friday.