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Exclusive: An Update on The Birds Remake

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 2, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 2, 2009 |

Last year it was reported that Naomi Watts was signed to star in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, about a flock of birds that takes over a quiet California town. At the time, Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) was attached to direct the project. But then something else came along — and that something else was The Green Lantern. But in all the hullabaloo over Campbell signing on to the Ryan Reynolds’ superhero flick, everyone forgot about The Birds.

And quite frankly, so did Martin Campbell. According to our inside source, The Hollywood Cog, Campbell has left the Michael Bay-produced The Birds (Michael Bay + horror remake = more blood and more boobs).

But a Universal property like The Birds isn’t going to simply disappear because it lost a big-name director. It just gets kicked down a stair to the next available lower tier director. In this case, that director looks be Dennis Iliades, who brought us the stunningly mediocre remake of The Last House on the Left.

It’s not completely official yet, but Platinum Dune has talked to Illiades about taking over the $60 million produced movie, and he’s driving the new direction of the movie, which, under Campbell’s direction, was geared toward a PG-13 release. Illiades is more interested in amping up the horror and making it an R-rated affair, although at this point, they’re looking to do another rewrite tailored toward Illiades’ vision (the script has passed through a lot of hands over the last year, including Scott Derickson’s (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) original take, a studio polish by Billy Ray (State of Play), and Peter Craig, who was hired to do a rewrite specifically for Martin Campbell. Why they need so many cooks in a kitchen when the HItchcock’s perfect recipe would do, I don’t know.

Now, usually I’m a fan of anybody that decides to turn a PG-13 movie into an R-Rated one, teenage audiences be damned. But Hitchcock’s film wasn’t about blood and gore — there wasn’t even an attack until halfway through the film. My guess is that Iliades and company know that can’t match Hitchcock in terms of suspense and psychological torment (few could), so they’re opting for more gore. Unfortunately, the shocking novelty of an innocent creature rising up to terrorize humans isn’t that novel or shocking anymore — look no further than Black Sheep. So, I suppose, when all else fails, bring out the buckets of blood.

Finally, though I don’t know for sure, my guess is that — without Campbell — Naomi Watts has probably left the project, as well.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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