If you're brilliant long enough, your reward is sticking around to see other people remake your classics. With that in mind, David Cronenberg has entered a world of pain that is becoming more brutal than his goriest cinematic scenes.
“It just isn't interesting to me," the "Eastern Promises" director said of the re-imagining onslaught that began with a "Dead Zone" TV show starring Anthony Michael Hall in the role Cronenberg and Christopher Walken made famous. "There was a miniseries of 'The Shining,' too, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kubrick didn't watch that either. It just doesn't hold any interest for me."
The now-cancelled USA Network show had been on the air for six years, and garnering decent reviews for most of its run. Nevertheless, the 64-year-old director (who recently received 3 Golden Globes nominations for the now-on-DVD "Promises") has never seen an episode. "I really worry about my time, in terms of what I watch, and what I don't watch. To me, there would be no point to seeing another version of a movie that I had made, and a book that I'd already read, including many scripts of it. So it wasn't a specific avoidance thing. It just never occurred to me to watch it.”
As far as the future is concerned, the next "re-imagined" Cronenberg classic is "Scanners," whose head-bursting legacy will be updated in 2008 by "The Invisible" director David S. Goyer. “I could live without it," he sighed. "But I don't have control over it, in general."
"Certainly, there were many sequels made to 'Scanners,'" he remembered of the 1981 thriller that put him on the map. "Very bad ones, I understand — I didn't watch those, either. I suppose it's inevitable."
"I've heard of remakes of everything from 'The Brood,' to 'The Fly,' to you name it," revealed Cronenberg. "There's such a desire to have some kind of comfort level amongst producers, and if it's a known property [that helps]. That's one of the reasons, for example, that graphic novels are getting made into movies: They can see it. It's there. They can hold it in their hands. It maybe has a pre-sold audience, up to a certain point. So I guess it's inevitable that they'd be trolling for remakes."
Oddly enough, the "Dead Zone" TV show was cancelled just after we spoke with Cronenberg. So, what's your opinion? Was the show better or worse than the movie? Do you agree with his remake frustrations?