It only took 24 hours after Thomas Vinterberg Another round won the Oscar for Best International Feature on April 25 before news of a remake broke. Appian Way, the production company of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson, along with Endeavor Content and Brad Weston’s Makeready, won the auction war – defeating Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker Nine Stories, as well as Elizabeth Banks, who worked with Universal Pictures – for the right to adapt Vinterberg’s Danish drink drama into English. DiCaprio is supposed to play a version of the character played by Mads Mikkelsen in the original: a high school history teacher who uses alcohol use during the day to escape his midlife crisis. Vinterberg has given his blessing and is on board for executive production of the remake, but the timing of the deal may have only encouraged social media complaints from fans of the original.
American adaptations of international successes are not new. Martin Scorsese won the Oscar for star of DiCaprio The dead, a remake of a Hong Kong crime thriller, iEternal affairs. Sian Heder’s crowd pleaser CODA, picked up by Apple TV in a record Sundance contract this year, is a faithful adaptation of the 2014 French film The Aries Family. But as global streamers give American audiences better access to non-English speaking rates and moviegoers become more sensitive to issues of cultural appropriation, the American remake has become a trickier affair.
“This movie has spoken to a lot of people around the world. You can’t just take that, remove the subtitles and tell the same story, ”says Dan Guando, senior vice president of film development and production at Endeavor Content, who helped negotiate the Another Round deal. . “With the much wider reach of international cinema now, we’re not interested in that and we can’t expect no one to have seen the original film.”
The American version, says Negeen Yazdi of Endeavor Content, will be a “reimagining” of Vinterberg’s Oscar winner, not a staged remake. Aspects of the film specific to Denmark and Danish society – such as its morally neutral attitude towards heavy drinking – will not carry over to the American version without cultural modification.
More recently, there have been several international art houses with American film duds, including stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. Downhill (based on the Swedish comedy drama Force majeure); Vince Vaughn’s comedy Delivery man (Ken Scott’s adaptation of his own Quebec laugh Starbuck); and After marriage, a reverse version of the genre from Susanne Bier’s 2006 Danish drama, starring Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore in roles originally played by Mikkelsen and Rolf Lassgard.
Lassgard. “House art films can be difficult to adapt because they often carry their director’s signature and it can be difficult to transport. [into another culture]”, Notes Martin Moszkowicz, executive chairman of German mini-major Constantin Film, which has recorded hits with local language versions of mainstream Italian and French comedies. “True cinematic art is very difficult to adapt.”
This may explain why so many international films selected for remakes never get made. Paramount’s version of the German Oscar nominee Toni Erdmann (2016), adaptation planned by DreamWorks by Hirokazu Kore-eda Like father, like son (2013), or the American take of Tom Hanks A man called Ove, the Swedish sleeper of 2015, remains, as of this writing, in development hell.
Moszkowicz argues that high-concept films are often better suited for remakes, especially if the original isn’t widely known or easily accessible through a global streaming platform. For example, the 2019 Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston comedy The bright side, grossed $ 108 million in the United States, where few had seen The Untouchables, the 2011 French film on which Neil Burger’s film was based. Internationally, where The Untouchables was a monster ($ 426 million gross worldwide), The bright side earned only $ 17 million.
But never underestimate the power of the stars. DiCaprio’s involvement convinced Vinterberg to choose the Endeavor / Makeready terrain. “Another round with Leonardo DiCaprio is a sensational combination,” says Moszkowicz. “I can imagine a lot more people will want to see it, because of DiCaprio, who wouldn’t. [ever] watch a Danish movie. “
This story first appeared in the May 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.