This week the CEO of MGM, Roger Birnbaum, visited his alma mater, the University of Denver, to give talks to their film history and production classes and apparently let slip a few vague nuggets about several of his studio's higher profile remakes. These bits arrive via a Reddit recap of the event, so unfortunately they're without a ton of detail (though we've confirmed his speaking engagement), but their implications are plenty juicy to share.
First up is MGM's remake of Stephen King's Carrie. We already know that Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry) is directing, Chloe Moretz (Let Me In) is starring in the title role, and that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's (HBO's "Big Love") screenplay is supposed to be more a re-adaptation of King's original novel than a remake of Brian De Palma's 1976 classic. But now Birnbaum has implied the new film will be, at least partially, a found-footage horror movie.
Now, before you get out your anti-found footage pitch forks, this shouldn't be that surprising. King's original novel is interspersed with various "official" documents recounting what happened on Carrie's deadly prom night (a writing technique called epistolary, which is basically the literary equivalent of found footage), so if Aguirre-Sacasa's script is indeed going back to the source material, the film focusing on "interviews with the survivors of the prom incident" makes perfect sense. It also doesn't necessarily mean Carrie will be filled with first-person POV found footage as we traditionally know - though the person who posted the recap did confirm to us that Birnbaum specifically used the words "found footage" - but is simply using recorded interviews as a framing device much like the book used newspaper clippings, which actually means Peirce's film will have more in common with the 2002 made-for-TV Carrie movie starring Angela Bettis than De Palma's film.
But Carrie wasn't the only film Birnbaum talked to the University of Denver film students about. The topic of their Poltergeist remake came up, and while the studio head was apparently more tight-lipped about that project, he did mention that Sam Raimi was in talks to direct it. And as much as we'd love to see Raimi get back into Evil Dead II mode for a remake of another iconic '80s horror movie, we're not holding our breath for that deal to fully pan out.
Update: Looks like we were right to be skeptical on this front. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Raimi is in talks to only produce the remake and is currently helping looking for a director.
Considering the types of films he's making these days, Raimi would seem more inclined to produce a remake of the haunted house film than direct one, but either way we're more excited to see his name in the conversation than any number of other, more generic genre directors-- it at least gives a welcoming idea of MGM's headspace on the film.
And finally, Birnbaum addressed the biggest remake titles on MGM's docket, the two sequels to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. There were no grand revelations there, but he did confirm that the under performance of David Fincher's Dragon Tattoo at the box office has severely altered their plans for the sequels. Apparently the screenplays for both films are already finished, they're just trying to figure out how to do it, and right now they're kicking around the idea of filming them back-to-back to cut down on production and marketing costs.
However, Birnbaum thinks quite highly of Fincher's work on the first film and wants him to continue the series. Filming two more back-to-back would certainly be a massive time commitment for Fincher, who already has his backburners filled with high profile projects like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Netflix original series "House of Cards," so the stars would have to align perfectly for Birnbaum to get his wish on that front.