While Stephen King fans' emotions are seesawing over the prospect of an imminent adaptation of The Dark Tower, some are already seeing red over another King related project – a remake of the 1974 novel, Carrie. MGM and Screen Gems will be working with Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark scribe Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – who turned King's The Stand into a graphic novel series – to pen another rendering of the story about an abused high school girl who finally cracks, annihilating her peers with creepy telekinetic powers. Predictably, casting rumors have already placed Hollywood tragic-queen Lindsay Lohan's name in the frame as the eponymous fatale. Although the author famously balked at Stanley Kubrick's conception of The Shining, he seems to have a slight change of heart when it comes to the girl covered in pig's blood at the prom. The author recently shared his conflicting sentiments on the remake with Entertainment Weekly:
"I’ve heard rumblings about a Carrie remake, as I have about The Stand and It. Who knows if it will happen? The real question is why, when the original was so good? I mean, not Casablanca, or anything, but a really good horror-suspense film, much better than the book. Piper Laurie really got her teeth into the bad-mom thing. Although Lindsay Lohan as Carrie White… hmmm. It would certainly be fun to cast. I guess I could get behind it if they turned the project over to one of the Davids: Lynch or Cronenberg."
If that weren't enough to rattle fans, news quickly surfaced that Megan Fox – who reportedly wants to distance herself from any Michael Bay-isms – wants to play the homely, introverted teen who gets tormented in school. Fox doesn't think her sex appeal or mid-twenties age bracket would preclude her from tackling the role. MovieWeb quotes an inside source close to the actress as saying, "Megan is a huge fan of the original and would love the chance to play the lead. She's 25 now but she's sure she could still do justice to teenage Carrie. She's told her people to make it happen."
Although there have been several adaptations, Brian De Palma’s 1976 film starring Sissy Spacek in the lead has been the most successful retelling of King's debut novel. The director's ability to combine well-crafted horror motifs and imagery, Hitchcockian references, a gut-wrenching humanity, and an unapologetic approach to shattering male fantasy (the locker room scene – soft porn gone sour – immediately springs to mind) is a winning combination. Although Spacek wasn't De Palma's first choice for Carrie White, her sympathetic approach and innate ability to embrace a nascent child-woman naturalism shows she was clearly the perfect fit.
Spacek was about the same age as Fox and Lohan are now when Carrie was made, but both actresses lack the kind of ethereal vulnerability that Spacek's fresh-faced awkwardness, quiet demeanor, and 5'2" frame pulled off. (I'm sure it also helped that the actress supposedly showed up to her audition with Vaseline in her hair, wearing an old sailor dress that her mother made for her as a child.) While Lohan's real life seems to be a true match for the somber story (complete with crazy mother), LiLo's spastic persona makes her a better fit for one of the taunting teenagers Carrie comes into contact with – and some fans have even suggested her for Piper Laurie's (amazing) role as the fanatically religious mother.
The 1999 sequel to De Palma's classic film, The Rage: Carrie 2, was an embarrassment to the legacy, but special mention should be made of Angela Bettis' performance in the 2002 TV movie pilot, in which she added an unnerving quirkiness to the role. While MGM continues to be a tried and true remake machine, steadily clawing its way out of debt, they've promised to deliver a more faithful version of Carrie that's closer to King's novel. Given their track record, it's had to imagine that the studio will take advantage of this opportunity to do anything more than cash in. Of course, this doesn't stem the excitable expectation of the fanbase – and the possibility that maybe a remake might deliver something special. And without the right casting, any attempt to exhume the vindictive teen is doomed. So, who should inherit the bloody crown as cinema's creepiest prom queen?
Chloe Moretz is a name that immediately seems apt. Although the actress is only fourteen, her ability to delve into a darker role in a meaningful and mature way – which she proved in last year's vampire remake Let Me In – makes her a prominent candidate for the troubled Carrie. The actress runs the risk of becoming a catchall for the monstrous feminine, but her age buys her time to eventually break out of the mold.
It's hard to conceive an actress like Ellen Page tackling a horror remake after her success in last year's Inception, but waifish looks and a chilling performance in David Slade's Hard Candy indicate her suitability for the genre, when paired with the right director. Her sharpness might prevent her from capturing the frailty of the character, however.
Someone like The Lovely Bones' Saoirse Ronan could be the most intriguing incarnation of all. The gifted, young actress has a measured style, and can deliver the emotional heft that saved De Palma's Carrie from being complete B-horror cheese. Whether MGM can pay respect to the source material without making a further mockery of the fragile teenager remains to be seen, however. The studio also risks casting the not-hot-but-really-hot girl – which speculation surrounding Megan Fox clearly suggests is a possibility. King's proposal that either David Lynch or David Cronenberg direct seems like another fan fantasy that will never materialize, but if the results are at least better than the dreadful Carrie: The Musical then perhaps this latest reimagining will be quietly buried, to little lugubrious fanfare. If not, then telekinetic whoop-ass may pale in comparison with the horror of millions of Stephen King fans, scorned.