Back in March we learned that a reboot of sorts was making its way to THE GRUDGE from MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN scribe Jeff Buhler who also happens to be working on the screenplay for the remake of the cult film JACOB'S LADDER. FEARnet recently caught up with Buhler who shed some light on the two films and gives a hint at which direction they plan on taking these classic tales.
Concerning THE GRUDGE, Buhler says that they aren't approaching it as a remake of either the 2004 film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar or the original Takashi Shimizu-directed JU-ON. "This is pushing the mythology forward while keeping the concepts and spirit of those movies, yet finding a new way to tell a story within that world, which is exciting," he stated. He then went on to talk about how it will feature "new characters, new ghost, and a new mythology" rather than continuing the previous storylines we saw in other films. "I’m not really at a liberty to say anything more than that for obvious reasons, as we are still in the scripting process. I think letting fans of the original series know that we are not going back to (the character of) Kayako and trying to mine what’s already been mined is important (though). We are still very early in the process."
So it's not much but it does offer us a glimpse at which direction they might be headed with the remake as it will try to be its own entity rather than rehashing old ideas. And I like the idea of injecting the remake with new mythology and a new ghost. Could be cool!
Okay, so what's going on with the JACOB'S LADDER remake? "Essentially the conundrum (with doing a remake) of Jacob’s Ladder, is that first of all it’s a ‘cult’ favorite, so the only people that are really aware and passionate about the title are also very invested in the sanctity of the original," Buhler offered. And when talking about his approach to scripting the remake, he goes on to shed some light on the challenges of remaking a film that has such a bold and unforgettable ending. "A lot of the experience of that film, whether it’s positive or negative, rides on the conclusion, and once the conclusion is done the power of it is removed. It’s like how do you retell The Sixth Sense? It’s like once you know the guy is a ghost, it kind of takes the power of the film away."
He continues, "So I wanted to find a way into the story that allowed us to play with this sort of ‘slipping reality’ that Jacob is experiencing,” he said, “without necessarily going to the same conclusion, and finding a new way to give the audience an experience that is similar in terms of impact and feeling, but that doesn’t play the same tune. It was a very tricky situation in the sense that we were trying to recreate something, but honor the spirit and concept (of the original), while telling a different story." That right there is encouraging to hear because I always felt that some of the best remakes try to take the original premise and run with it in a new and exciting direction; and it sounds like this is the path they're taking with JACOB'S LADDER.
And to finish it all off it looks like they have tapped James Foley to direct JACOB'S LADDER with casting currently underway. Look for more on both of these projects soon! So what do you guys think? Are you excited for either of these films and do you like the idea of Buhler exploring different ways to tell these stories? Let us know!
Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in 2004's THE GRUDGE