AirTalk for August 2, 2013

Untouchable roles: Can 2013's 'Carrie' hold a candle to Sissy Spacek?

Actress Sissy Spacek scored an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1976 Carrie. Will the upcoming remake of the movie be as successful?

Because Hollywood never tires of remakes, you may have seen trailers for the reimagining of "Carrie," in theatres in October.

Back in 1976, Brian De Palma first directed the screen adaptation of Stephen King's creepy tale of a sweet, meek and tortured teen with the power of telekinesis. Lead actress Sissy Spacek scored an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Carrie, a rare recognition for a horror flick.

This year, young Chloe Grace Moretz is cast as Carrie. The 16-year-old actress doesn't have the same haunting looks as Spacek, but Moretz is not a lightweight, having worked with directors Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese.

"You shouldn't remake great movies, you should remake movies that had great ideas, but didn't work," said Peter Ranier, film critic fir the Christian Science Monitor, on AirTalk. "There are a lot of movies that could have been good that got botched along the way. Unless the remake really has a reason for being and a whole new guise, I'm not sure you should touch it."

When reprising a role, the comparisons are inevitable. Universal has been planning to remake "Scarface," and it looks like the director may be David Yates, director of four of the "Harry Potter" movies.

One thing for sure is that whoever is cast as the next Tony Montana has some pretty big shoes to fill. Who might you cast?

Ranier points out that some of the best remakes are when foreign films are adapted into American movies. 

"Some of the greatest remakes have been the French to Hollywood movies, like the great Renior movie 'Boudu Saved from Drowning,' which was remade as 'Down and Out in Beverly Hills' with Nick Nolte and Richard Dreyfuss," he said. 

Ranier also cites the Phil Kaufman 1978 remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to be an example of an excellent remake, because it had a social message that made sense during the current sociopolitical climate at the time. 

"There's a reason for that film to have been remade because it was set in San Francisco in the 1970s during the human potential movement," he said. "It makes a lot of sense that these pod people would be in the human potential movement."

Could you imagine a new actress taking on Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall"? Jeff Bridges in "The Big Lebowski"? What about Marlon Brando in, well, anything? Which movie characters are owned outright by the actors who originally played them? How tough is it for casting directors to overcome such a challenge?

We want to hear from you: Which film characters do you think could never be played by another actor? Tell us in the comments!

Carrie (1976)

Carrie (2013)

Guests:
Avy Kaufman, Casting Director, “Carrie,” “Lincoln,” “Brokeback Mountain” and many more

Peter Rainer, film critic for KPCC and the Christian Science Monitor; author of “Rainer on Film: Thirty Years of Film Writing in a Turbulent and Transformative Era”


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