CATEGORIES Foreign Language, Deals, Telluride, Mystery & Suspense, Cinematical Indie, Movie News, CinematicalIceland has a more robust film industry than you might expect from a small island nation of only 320,000 people, but still, it ain't exactly Hollywood. So when an Icelandic film gains worldwide attention, it's newsworthy.
Such is the case with Jar City, an excellent mystery thriller that Cinematical's Kim Voynar raved about last year at Telluride. It's the highest-grossing film in the country's history, from one of its most successful (and prolific directors), and it won a top prize at the 2007 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
And now it gets the ultimate honor: an American remake! (There may have been sarcasm in the word "honor.") According to The Hollywood Reporter, Overture Films has bought the remake rights and will employ the original writer/director, Baltasar Kormákur, as a producer. No word yet on who will direct the U.S. version, but a writer has been attached: Michael Ross, who wrote Turistas and who THR says is also penning the Near Dark remake.
The Icelandic setting will be changed, of course, to its logical American counterpart: Louisiana. No, really. I'm curious to see how the story transfers, since some of its details relate to the insularity of those small Icelandic communities. Also, I loved that the detective in the original was a total badass despite looking like a nerdy college professor. (That's him in the picture.) I hope they keep that element for the remake. William H. Macy would be perfect.
As far as I can determine, this is the first time an Icelandic film has officially gotten an American remake. If anyone knows differently, let me know. Otherwise, I'm marking this as a historic first for our friends in the North Atlantic.