By now you’ve probably heard that MGM is remaking Stephen King’s “Carrie” with Chloe Grace Moritz starring and Kimberly Pierce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) directing.
This isn’t the first time the property has been remade. Most notably is the 2002 TV adaptation starring Angela Bettis that aired on NBC over a two night period (no intentional pun there).
However, that production was not greeted too favorably, especially now that its original running time of three hours has (apparently forever) been truncated into a two hour DVD release.
Whether or not one likes it is rather irrelevant. The whole reason to make that version was to simply capitalize on Bettis’ amazing acting in Lucky McKee’s “May” and introduce her to the world at large. Sadly, it didn’t pan out and those who saw it were left wondering what all the fuss was about.
There was also an attempt to remake the story with the MGM sequel “The Rage: Carrie 2.” However, that version was rejected outright by most everyone. I still think the director, Katt Shea was able to put together scenes and moments that worked but overall yes, the film definitely has its problems.
(Though how great was it to see Amy Irving again on the talk show circuit hyping the film in 1999.)
Looking at the original today, Brian De Palma’s 1976 film is still pretty flawless and that is a testament to both his powerful direction and the acting.
That being said, there is a way to retell the story of Carrie White and her mom, Sue Snell and Tommy Ross without infringing upon the now classic film… and that can be done in two ways.
First, structure the screenplay around the newscast interview structure that Stephen King imposed on the book. This will greatly allow the new incarnation to resonate with those who know the first film and those who don’t.
For those who do, this will help differentiate the 2013 film from its original counterpart and allow the material to be introduced in a entirely new way.
To those who don’t, this will place its audience in a reality based environment and allow the testimonies of the characters to bridge the gap between 60 Minutes style interviews and Youtube blog posts.
Second, and I think this is why Kimberly Pierce was hired, is to reach an emotional level of involvement and allow us to truly care about Carrie White and her plight. I think Sissy Spacek did an astounding job in the original film, but a character’s state of mind/being is something that can always be touched upon in fresh ways.
Whatever the fate of the remake of “Carrie” may be, I just hope the filmmakers and cast come at it with a fresh perspective and not just retread over hallowed ground.