Director talks King of Kong remake/sequel
Seth Gordon, the director of the excellent The King of Kong (Filmstalker review), has been talking about the remake, and not only remake but it's a fictional remake. Yes, I don't get that either and I think it'll lose a lot of what attracted us to the original.
There's also word of his new film, as the announcement comes that he's attached to Suicide Squad.
First up the latest announcement. From The Hollywood Reporter comes the story that Seth Gordon has signed up for Suicide Squad, a film from Working Title and Universal and written by Chris Johnson and recently rewritten by Matt and Billy Eddy. The story follows a con-man who has just made it out on parole again and is putting together a team of amateurs to rob the Kentucky Derby.
Okay, that's out of the way, what about this remake of The King of Kong? Well the bad news is that it's going ahead and that the studio's intention was always to make a fictional version of the story and the only reason they picked up the rights and distributed the documentary was for the fictional remake.
Over at First Showing through /Film we hear from Gordon that the studio intended to do this from the beginning and they transcribed the documentary into script form almost immediately, setting the first writer loose on the script.
"...from the moment we first thought, people might want to see [the documentary], and therefore we might be seeking a theatrical release, it became clear that a narrative remake for it was what film studios would really be interested in."
Michael Bacall was the writer hired to make something of the transcribed documentary. However the real question is what is it going to give us that the documentary already has? Gordon has his ideas on that one and tells us.
"There's going to be less of the talking heads...And we couldn't be everywhere for the making of the documentary, so some stuff had to be done that way. So we'll show the moments we weren't able to be present for, but in terms of the story, it's going to be a very similar story - about Wiebe losing his job, rediscovering Kong, thinking he's the best in the world at something only to have it taken away by a guy who won't let go of his title."
Okay, well to be fair that still sounds like they're remaking the documentary more or less as is. Sure the talking heads parts are coming out, but that's definitely not the majority of the film and some of the talking heads sections really do help make the story.
He's adamant that they aren't going to mess about with the original documentary though and they're even going to be linking the film to it.
"We're going to try, if we can, to really reference and use the documentary where possible...To me it's about not compromising the original, if we can help it."
You know that's all very well, and I'm sure they all have great plans, but I have some serious concerns about this. First of all there's the fact that the documentary is so strong, and really there doesn't seem like there's any footage missing at all, in fact when I reviewed it I even commented on just how much footage they managed to get to make it so powerful.
The next thing is that I think it gains a huge amount of its strength from the fact that it is true, and that we are seeing the drama play out between two very real people. I mean in all seriousness, would a fictional film about two players of eighties videogames really get you pulled in this well? I don't think so. It's the reality of their lives and the amazing dramatic cover-ups behind the scene that really make the film work. I just can't see the characters having as much impact if they are made up, can you?
Then there's the last reason, again connected to the fact that this is about real people, isn't there the real danger of confusing fiction with real life? By remaking a real life documentary into a fictional film and, as Gordon freely admits, adding extra scenes which were never filmed, isn't there the danger that people are going to confuse the fictional with real life? By adding in fictionally filmed moments based on what was not filmed in the documentary, surely the original documentary will be harmed?
I really am struggling to see it working and without tainting the original documentary. A fictional remake, a good idea?