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Exclusive: The Fly director J.D. Dillard talks his vision for the remake

04.08.2017by: Eric Walkuski

The Fly remake JD Dillard horror Sleight Jeff Goldblum David Cronenberg

J.D. Dillard is a name we're going to be hearing a lot around these parts for some years to come. Last year, he made waves at Sundance with SLEIGHT, an urban drama-cum-superhero story that is quite a unique debut feature. (It hits theaters on April 28th.) Dillard is about to embark on his next film, SWEETHEART, which will be produced by Blumhouse, themselves making a lot of waves early this year thanks to their critical and commercial hits SPLIT and GET OUT. This is a very good pairing, if you ask me, and SWEETHEART figures to be one of the main horror titles to look forward to next year.

But Dillard is on the map right now thanks to the major news that broke a few weeks ago that he is in negotiations with 20th Century Fox to direct a remake of THE FLY, which he would co-write with partner Alex Theurer. Details were scant at the time, so it wasn't understood just how much of a remake or reboot it would be. (Indeed, it wasn't even specified if it would be taking its cue from the original 1958 version or David Cronenberg's 1986 remake - although I'm sure we all assume the latter.) And while the deal with Fox is evidently not set in stone, I had an opportunity to speak with Dillard recently about THE FLY and more.

The full interview will post later, but you might want to know a little about THE FLY first. Of course, Dillard could speak in only broad terms about what his vision for the film is, or might be, but it's still clear he's looking to expand on the worlds built by the films we know while also remaining true to the elements people love about them.

Asked whether it's officially happening, Dillard responded:

The Fly is very early days. It's something that is still in negotiation, but we are unbelievably excited about it. We are really inspired by these first conversations we've been having with Fox. It's kind of too early to say anything, but I'm going to continue to cross my fingers that this actually becomes a reality. Very, very, very excited of even the possibility of being able to play in this franchise and play in that world.

On whether it's a straight-up remake of Cronenberg's THE FLY:

That's the early days conversation, but hopefully there will be something to talk about with that in the not too distant future.

Dillard also talked, again in broad terms in regards to THE FLY, about the importance of balancing elements that are familiar to the audience with fresh ideas:

In looking at the way a lot of movies are being reset, or new characters are being added, it always brings up the question: When looking at rebooting something, when looking back into a world, what really are the elements that people are attached to, and what really makes people excited in these worlds? It doesn't matter what IP it is, but just making sure you really can deliver on something new, and you also don't want to alienate people who love the thing. But you also want to cover new territory. The APES reboot is one of my favorite franchises right now, it's so unlike the other iterations but it's delivering on what the franchise is but with an entirely new dramatic, interesting story.

There's this balance to find of what you know people want and still making something new and making something original and making something emotional... if I have an opportunity to jump into a franchise, which I'm very much primed to do, it's most important to me that it is good. Alex and I will always start fully with character.

Again, it's obvious Dillard can't speak too specifically about what his version of THE FLY ultimately will be, but if he does indeed move forward with the project we can expect to hear much more about it in the near future.

In the meantime, you can see SLEIGHT in theaters on April 28th.

Extra Tidbit: Are you willing to give a new version of THE FLY a chance?

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