The Last Exorcism director Daniel Stamm was originally enlisted by Dimension Films to direct the American remake of Pascal Laugier’s outstanding French horror movie Martyrs. Although he loved the script, the movie never came to be. Why?
In a recent interview with Movies.com discussing his newest film, 13 Sins (also a remake), Stamm talked about the script he received for a Martyrs remake.
“It was spellbinding,” he said. “A beautiful character study of how far you’ll go for an insane friend. One of the best scripts I’ve read, probably ever.”
Stamm continued on just why, although he loved the script, the project never moved forward. “The French had done these 30 pages of just mind-numbing, repetitive violence, which is genius because it makes you feel the actual horror of that stuff, but there is no entertainment value,” Stamm said of the original movie. “So the Americans come in and go, ‘We have to spice this up and make it more entertaining.’ So suddenly it’s 30 pages of Saw that just didn’t work.”
“The American remake keeps both girls alive; whereas, the French version kills one of the girls very early. If you keep both of them alive, this gives you a really great chance to have this psychological play between them and the torturers. Everything was going great creatively, and then the call comes in. ‘The option ran out a week ago and the French producers now want so much money that we can’t make the movie.’”
“I think they’re now back to making the movie for like $1 million, really low budget, which I think you could almost do; it’s just there’s this philosophy in Hollywood that you can never go back budget-wise. As a filmmaker you are judged by that. And then there’s also this concept I was unaware of called plateauing, where if you’re a filmmaker who makes two movies in the same budget bracket, that becomes your thing. You are the guy for the $3 million movie, and then that’s all you do. And so my agents wouldn’t let me do the $1 million movie because then that’s it for you; you’ll supposedly never get that bigger budget.”
So there you have it. The almighty dollar, a power struggle, and typecasting all had a hand in shooting the Martyrs remake down. Apparently the rights to the film have switched hands are and moving forward with the lower price tag. Can’t say this sounds too promising for the project, but you never know.
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