Olsen’s “Funny Games” story

Mark Olsen‘s 3.9 L.A. Times interview with Funny Games director-writer Michael Haneke mentions British-based producer Chris Coen buying the U.S. remake rights, but it doesn’t explain why the people at Warner Independent saw it as a worthwhile film to distribute. If it had been my decision, I would have said no.
Consider, for example, what a guy who calls himself “Mr. Mystery” wrote earlier today about seeing a Funny Games preview last weekend at a suburban theatre: “Total silence until the end when someone said ‘fuck you!’ to the screen, [and] the audience applauded.” What loon would say to him or herself, “Now that‘s a film I want my company to distribute.” I respect Funny Games for what it is and I admire Haneke tremendously, but what could Warner Independent president Polly Cohen have been thinking?
Olsen writes that Haneke “insisted on casting Naomi Watts — he said he would likely have not made the new film if she had said no.” But why is Watts listed as the film’s executive producer? What was that about? Did she agree to cut her price to nothing so she could have a juicy role to play?

  • T. Holly

    Why would she have to cut her price to get passive payments on prequel and sequel rights? They could terrorize another family.

  • Gordie Lachance

    First No Country and now this. I love the whole fat, lazy, illiterate American sense of entitlement (ie. “I paid my $9.50, and I DEMAND an ending).
    We can’t see what’s coming, but boy do we deserve it.

  • T. Holly

    someone has to acknowledge this, it’s a script ripe for mumblecore
    http://weblogs.variety.com/thompsononhollywood/2007/11/no-country-for.html

  • George Prager

    C’mon Jean Luc Godard, how about a shot by shot remake of WEEKEND starring J-Lo?

  • George Prager

    Reviewing the original version of “Funny Games,” the critic J. Hoberman wrote: “His movies are founded on the denial of catharsis and, to compound the creepiness, Haneke insists he is occupying the moral high ground. . . . The wheel is rigged so only Haneke can win.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/magazine/23haneke-t.html

  • OtownRog

    Is it the ending that has people saying “Fuck you,” or the smug, talk to the camera pitiless pointlessness of it all?
    It’s enough like the original to make it watchable, but he takes you out of the movie time and again, and it’s not the sort of thriller where that is going to pay off for you.

  • monsieur hire

    I’ve seen the original and the new version, and this one feels more powerful to me, perhaps because of my admiration for the depths that Watts goes to in what has to be one of the all-time great pieces of acting in a thriller. She really blows you away, particuarly in the middle of the film when she and Roth get some alone time. But my problem with the original still nagged me here, which is that I disagree that Haneke’s director’s tricks, including the self-conscious and asides and the rewind, have much impact in diffusing the actual barbarism and emotional torture he conjures up. This is a painful movie, and that Haneke believes the hogwash that he is making a profound statement about our desensitized tolerance level for movie violence and willingness to applaud “acceptable” acts while deriding others. The artifice does nothing but remove us from the drama, and someone should clue him that in a thriller as extreme as this, we are obviously going to indentify with the victims and applaud their retribution against their persecutors. While it has power, Funny Games is more than pretentious and fails to justify its premise. It is an ugly, mean and cruel experience, and Haneke gets his last laugh all right, making us care deeply for characters then….well, it is what it is.

  • Berniemoore

    Is it the ending that has people saying “Fuck you,” or the smug, talk to the camera pitiless pointlessness of it all?
    It’s enough like the original to make it watchable, but he takes you out of the movie time and again, and it’s not the sort of thriller where that is going to pay off for you.

  • T. Holly

    Making your movie over again is reverse filmmaking. It’s the ultimate pre-vis; I’d love to know how many days it took and the tech craft involved.
    For endings, let’s not forget the fracus over The Sopranos.
    Not sure I need my name twice, so I’m abbreviating.

  • tolly

    Making your movie over again is reverse filmmaking. It’s the ultimate pre-vis; I’d love to know how many days it took and the tech craft involved.

    For endings, let’s not forget the fracus over The Sopranos.

    Not sure I need my name twice, so I’m abbreviating.

  • korryer

    Did you ever posted it on a celebrity and millionaire dating site called wealthysoulmate.com. I saw it there a few weeks ago.