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Old 07-04-2015, 03:34 PM
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What happened to the Suspiria remake?

Three years ago, a remake of Dario Argento's Suspiria seemed to be ready to go ahead. So what happened to it? Its former director explains.

Visually and aurally sumptuous, Dario Argento's Suspiria was one of the most striking horror movies of its age. The soundtrack was cacophonous, the cinematography drenched in colour and often beautiful - even when Argento was spattering the screen with claret.

In 2008, director David Gordon Green risked the ire of horror fans everywhere when he revealed to MTV that he planned to remake Argento's nightmare classic. It could have been a starry affair, too, with Natalie Portman on board as producer and star. That incarnation of the movie appeared to fall apart, though, and Portman ultimately went on to make Black Swan with Darren Aronofsky - a film about a ballet dancer with more than a touch of Argento's delirious brand of storytelling running through it.

Thereafter, news on the project went a bit quiet, until Green, who by 2011 added the comedies Your Highness and Pineapple Express to his portfolio of exquisitely-shot southern dramas, started talking about Suspiria in interviews again.

Green told us of his desire to make Suspiria in 2011. "That'll be a lot of fun," he said. "I've written it with the sound designer, so we've really written it from a unique perspective. We've come at it not from a traditional narrative way, but from the perspective of sound. It's a fun experiment for me, to see how it works out."

For a while, Green's Suspiria seemed to once more gather pace. A cast had reportedly been assembled, which included Michael Nyvqvist (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol), Isabelle Huppert (Heaven's Gate, The Piano Teacher) and Isabelle Fuhrman (The Orphanage, The Hunger Games). Lack of Portman's star wattage aside, that's an admirable roster of actors.

In April 2012, the announcement came that Suspiria's financing was secured, the rights to reuse Goblin's booming soundtrack was granted, and that shooting was to begin that September.

Predictably, things didn't quite pan out.

Early 2013 brought the news that Suspiria was caught in some kind of weird legal quagmire from which, to date, it hasn't emerged. But Green's recently provided an update of what he's called his "opera" take on Suspiria.

"That would have been the ****,” Green told Crave. "I wrote it with my sound designer. I love Argento’s film and we wrote a very faithful, extremely elegant opera, basically of [Suspiria]. I don’t mean musical opera, but it would be incredibly heightened music, and heightened and very operatic and elegant sets. Isabelle Huppert was going to be in it, [and] Janet McTeer. We had an amazing cast of elegance and prestige that we were engineering for it."

The problem, it seemed, was that $20m was a lot to ask for an industry which widely sees the likes of Saw and Paranormal Activity as the benchmark for horror. If you can make a hit horror movie for $1m or even less, what's the point in risking 20 times more than that?

"...the economic model for a horror movie was not where I wanted it to be to make a $20 million elegant movie from a guy who was an unproven horror director," Green explained.

Green also suggests that the tepid commercial performance of the bawdy fantasy spoof Your Highness may have affected Suspiria's chances.

"If people would have given that movie [Your Highness] the hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office that it deserved, Suspiria would exist for us all to enjoy!"

But Green adds that, while he won't be directing the remake himself, the new Suspiria may still appear. "I'm actually hopeful that it's happening," Green said, "with a great Italian director that I had breakfast with last week."

Meanwhile, there's a Suspiria TV adaptation in the offing, said to be a 12-episode season of 50 minute episodes, called Suspiria De Profundis. According to The Playlist, it'll involve "fearful mysteries" solved by a "Sherlock Holmes-style lead character." Argento himself is said to be consulting on the show, which will be shot in English.

So while the fate of Green's Suspiria still looks uncertain, Argento's classic movie may still resurface in a new, small-screen form. Now, if only someone could tell us which Italian film director Green had breakfast with recently.

On a final, semi-related note, Asia Argento's drama Incompresa was a high-profile entry at Cannes in 2014. Just saying.

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P.S. In Italy word is spreading that Federico Zampaglione (singer of italian alternative-rock band Tiromancino, and recently critically appreciated horror movie director) is the "great italian director" that David Gordon Green is in contact with.
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