Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Devil Made Them Do It

Ira Levin, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer all must be doing gymnastics in their graves.

A few nights ago I saw a trailer for the upcoming TV movie remake of one of my all time favorite novels and horror movies -- Rosemary's Baby. I screamed, "What? Are you kidding me?" at my television once again upsetting Joe who dislikes it intensely when I talk to the TV.

Jason Isaacs, so compelling as Jackson Brodie in the recent UK TV series based on Kate Atkinson's crime novels, has been cast as Roman Castevet. Way too young for the role. Minnie has been renamed Margaux and is played by French actress Carole Bouquet. Minnie is gone! Now I know this is going to suck. Clearly, the producers have decided to rejuvenate another classic and market it to a younger TV viewing audience with no memory of the original film.

Zoe Saldana, an actress I am not impressed with, is Rosemary. Mia Farrow IS Rosemary Woodhouse! To my mind only an immensely talented actress could surpass Farrow's performance. Certainly not someone as mediocre as Zoe Saldana.

Canadian actor Patrick J Adams is playing Rosemary's husband. He appeared on a cable TV series called Suits most recently. Never seen him in anything. Beats me if he has the stuff to even match Cassavetes' portrayal of the overly ambitious actor Guy Woodhouse who makes a diabolical pact in exchange for success on the Broadway stage. Looks like so many baby-faced young actors these days. He's got that trendy scruff to make him look older for this part.

I'm not impressed by the TV script adaptors credits either: Final Destination 3, Queen of the Damned, and that train wreck of a TV series American Horror Story. The only saving grace might be director Agnieszka Holland who made such memorable movies as Europa, Europa and The Secret Garden (w/ Maggie Smith) and who most recently has been making a career of directing cable TV shows like Treme, The Killing, and The Wire.

The movie -- a four hour, two parter -- will be broadcast in May on NBC. For more info see this webpage at NBC.com.

Anyone else think this is a horrid idea? Anyone planning to watch this? I'm not sure I'm even mildly curious about what they've done to update it. Some movies should never be remade. This, I think, is one of them.

10 comments:

  1. Never saw the original and I still this this is a horrid idea. At any rate I won't be watching the new version either. You must prepare yourself for this constant revamping of classics, John. Nobody in Hollywood seems able to write anything original. That's the way of it, I'm afraid.

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  2. Have no interest in watching it either. Saw the original for the first time in a theater (http://cinemaofhorror.com/rosemarys-baby-colonial-theater-phoenixville-pa/) months ago.

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    1. Good review, Tim. Your observations about Rosemary's state of mind are spot on. Thanks for the link.The first time you've *ever* seen the movie? Or the first time you've seen it in a movie theater?

      I've never seen it in a theater. My first time was its "first time on network TV" presentation on ABC back in the mid 1970s. It was a big event. One of the earliest times a TV station felt it necessary to make one of those disclaimers about disturbing content and advise viewer or parental discretion. They were wise words for the time. I've since seen it at least three more times, uncut and uncensored on VHS and DVD.

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    2. Luckily I won't be able to see this in the UK.

      Making the youngsters scared of the old folk is ideal.

      Wayne.

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  3. I don't even know how they're going to build suspense, I mean the very title is a spoiler! Same for Stepford Wives - Levin's creations have become common cultural tropes.

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  4. John, you have compelled me to read Levin's book and watch Polanski's adaptation for I haven't done either till now. The novel has been on my mind.

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  5. I loved the sly wit of Levin's book (and laughed out loud when I saw the title of his sequel, SON OF ROSEMARY). This doesn't sound that great, I admit, but hey, the original movie and the book aren't going anywhere. Joe should relax a bit - it's when the TV starts talking back that you have to start worrying ...

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  6. RB is one of the best films ever made. I love the way the camera gets in amongst the actors for a strange atmosphere that's both cosy and claustrophobic. I didn't realise for ages that Guy is actually a failure as an actor, too old for Rosemary, and living on her money. It's that subtle. Irreplaceable, Komeda score and all.

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    1. So true, Lucy. I'm revved up for a re-viewing of Polanski's brilliant movie now. I think many contemporary horror movies owe a helluva a lot to RB and Polanski's vision. This remake will most likely be forgotten by the end of the year. With luck it'll be forgotten the day after part two airs.

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  7. The trailer for the TV version did look terrible. Casting did not appeal to me. Maybe viewers who are not familiar with the original movie will find it ok.

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