By Jen Vineyard | The Playlist December 14, 2011 at 11:17AM
There's been a spree of remakes of perfectly good foreign films -- from the Swedish "Let the Right One In" to "Let Me In," to the (again) Swedish "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" to David Fincher's new version -- so you might well ask: why do we need any more of these? It's a question director Ben Affleck and producer Kathleen Kennedy grappled with before deciding to undertake a remake of the excellent French film "Tell No One."
"I don't usually do remakes," Kennedy told The Playlist recently as she was promoting "War Horse" and "The Adventures Of Tintin." "But this was also a movie that wasn't seen by a lot of people in the U.S. It's an absolutely fantastic movie, but at the same time, there was a bit of a flaw in the third act in terms of how everything wrapped up, so it just felt like perfect remake material."
Also in this particular instance, the French film was not based on literature from that country, as the previously mentioned remakes were. "Tell No One" is by American mystery writer Harlan Coben, and was originally destined to be a Hollywood film when it was set up at Sony back in 2002. Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci were hired to write it, but their adaptation didn't quite gel. Then a year later, French writer/director Guillaume Canet got the thriller set up at EuropaCorp, and released it in 2006, starring François Cluzet and Kristin Scott-Thomas.
"Harlan didn't see this movie as a French film," Kennedy said. "It became a French film out of necessity, because Canet came to him and wanted to make it, and he liked the take so much that he said, 'Yes, let's proceed.' But Harlan lives here, and he's excited about the possibility of seeing it made here. So it's an interesting, circuitous route that this took."
Affleck's version will feature a script by Chris Terrio ("Argo"), which would then presumably tinker with that third act problem. For those who haven't seen the original, the plot involves a doctor whose wife goes missing, and is then presumed to be murdered -- and he is the prime suspect. Years pass, and then he receives word that his wife might not be dead after all.
"I just thought there was a real potential there to pull in a great cast, and I love the fact that Ben instantly responded as well," Kennedy said. Would Affleck -- who doesn't always act in the films he directs -- take a part in this one? "For obvious reasons, he'd be great in it," Kennedy said, "but we haven't decided yet. I think he'd be great either way, either directing somebody, or trying to be in it as well."
As for his directing duties, Affleck has "Argo" to finish first, "and then he'll segue-way onto this, and we'll talk more about it" Kennedy said. "It all depends on his schedule because he and Matt [Damon] are going to do a project together now, too. He's already booked up for the next five years!"