Why Wes Craven Loves the French

It was announced a few months ago that Dimension films has hired the incredibly Alexandre Aja to co-script and direct the remake of Wes Craven’s Hills Have Eyes. The French filmmaker, whose gory ’70s-horror homage Haute Tension (review) shocked festival audiences and will hit U.S. screens from Lions Gate later this year, revealed to Fangoria that he was hand-picked by original Hills director Wes Craven for the redux. Read on for the story.
Fangoria writes, “Considering the positive results when TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was remade and the growing good buzz about the new DAWN OF THE DEAD, Dimension’s upcoming remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES might well be something to look forward to?especially since Alexandre Aja has been attached to co-script and direct. The French filmmaker, whose gory ’70s-horror homage HAUTE TENSION shocked festival audiences and will hit U.S. screens from Lions Gate later this year, reveals to Fango’s Caroline Vié that he was hand-picked by original HILLS director Wes Craven for the redux.

“Wes had seen HAUTE TENSION in LA at a screening that our agent at William Morris organized for us in November,” Aja explains. “He loved it and asked us if we had seen HILLS HAVE EYES, and if we’d be ready to consider an original approach for a remake. Scriptwriter Gregory Levasseur and I went back to France, thought about it and came back to him with ideas he liked. Then we went to see several studios with him. Many were interested, but Dimension picked up the project in January. We were very lucky that the remake of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE was such a success. Survival movies from the ’70s and ’80s are fashionable again, and we’re surfing on that wave. We were in the right place at the right time.”

The director acknowledges that Craven’s original has given him a tough act to follow. “HILLS HAVE EYES is very well-known?maybe not as much as TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but the title and Michael Berryman are still very popular,” he says. “It was quite popular on video in France, and people who were too young to see it when it was released can discover it on TV. Gregory and I were kids when the movie opened theatrically, but we were terrified when we watched it together. We’ve seen it again recently, and even though it’s still scary, it looks a bit outdated. There’s a lot of latitude to do something else with the story, to go further. It was probably more difficult to do a remake of TEXAS CHAINSAW, because that was a masterpiece to start with.

“For the moment, Wes is leaving us total freedom, even if he’ll have final cut on the movie,” Aja continues. “We’re thinking of doing a realistic survival movie in the tradition of John Boorman’s DELIVERANCE, while being respectful to the wishes of the fans. In our version, Michael Berryman would look almost too normal, though we might ask him to do a cameo. We’re writing the script at the moment, and we’re dreaming of getting John C. Reilly for the cast and to be ready to shoot this autumn.” Look for a feature on HAUTE TENSION and more coverage of the new HILLS in future issues of Fango.”

Source: Fangoria