JU-ON CREATORS ON GRUDGE
In the wake of the blockbuster success of THE RING, a slew of Asian horror films are scheduled for U.S. remaking. One of those on the fastest track is THE GRUDGE, based on the JU-ON series of movies that began as a pair of shot-on-video titles and progressed into two full-fledged features, the second of which recently wrapped in Japan. The remake rights for the Taka Ichise productions were picked up by Senator International?s Ghost House Pictures and Sam Raimi.
How this came about is explained to Fango?s Norman England by Ichise, who, as the producer of the Japanese RING series, is on the forefront of his county?s horror movement. ?Roy Lee, who introduced RINGU to DreamWorks, invited Sam to a screening of JU-ON,? Ichise recalls. ?Sam liked the film so much that he said he would personally like to produce a remake. It?s a very exciting proposition, since I?ve been very influenced by his films. And as co-producer, I plan to create with him an unprecedented horror film, the likes of which has never been seen in America.?
Ichise?s ?unprecedented? film is already on the right track. Normally, when a foreign film is remade in the U.S., the original team is dumped in favor of Hollywood talent, but THE GRUDGE will retain writer/director/creator Takashi Shimizu. ?The idea to keep Takashi on as director was Sam?s,? Ichise reveals. ?He suggested it before I even had the chance!?
The rarity of this decision is not lost on director Shimizu. ?I am entirely happy to have been put in charge of the U.S. version,? Shimizu tells Fango. ?This month I?ll be traveling to the States to discuss the story with the American side of the production. A U.S. writer [Stephen Susco] is scripting, with the core of the stories being culled from the JU-ON videos and film. I need to discuss with them how these stories are arranged and how they connect with each other.?
JU-ON revolves around a supernatural curse born of a grudge held by someone who dies while in the grip of a powerful anger. This curse then passes on from victim to victim like a virus. Shimizu isn?t worried that the less in-your-face approach favored by Japanese horror directors will work for U.S. viewers. ?Recently, Japanese horror has found a place in the States,? he says. ?I believe that THE RING helped them accept our style. I realize that this will be an American film, but I plan to do things my way. If I was simply to copy the U.S. style of filmmaking, it would have no meaning. I was appointed by Mr. Raimi because he wants me to create something that an American can?t. My hope is to scare the U.S. audience in a way that they are unfamiliar with.
?I am very happy with how everything is coming together,? continues the 30-year-old Shimizu. ?And to work in the U.S. will be exciting. I?ve never been to another country in my life. Now, my first trip is not a holiday but a job, one connected to my favorite thing: filmmaking. I don?t speak English, but the situation is too special to refuse. It will be my honor to introduce to Americans the scary world of THE GRUDGE.?
Courtesy of Fangoria