Hollywood has a nasty habit of assuming audiences only want to see movies that come out of its gates – anything subtitled or led by no-name casts, forget it. The only thing for it is to mount a remake, add a few bankable stars and perhaps up the budget. Then, and only then, will audiences have an interest, studio execs seem to think. Such is the case with Force Majeure, last year’s award-winning Swedish drama, which Fox Searchlight has just picked up rights to and eyed Julia Louis-Dreyfus to star.
Force Majeure, which was conspicuously absent from the 2014 Oscars but did snag a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film (losing to Leviathan), focused on a family vacationing at a resort in the French Alps. When an avalanche occurs, the cowardly father deserts his family, hoping to save his own skin. After the avalanche passes and the family is brought safely back together, though, the father’s actions create a rift between them.
The film, written and directed by Ruben Ostlund, swept up many awards over in Sweden and won the Un Certain Regard jury prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. It’s safe to say that any U.S. remake has big shoes to fill.
Louis-Dreyfus is in negotiations to play the matriarch, named Ebba in the original. If she comes aboard, she’ll also take on a producing role. Though talented, the actress is much better known for her comedic abilities, on television series like Seinfeld and Veep, than her dramatic chops. However, Louis-Dreyfus definitely has the charm of a leading lady, and her film roles in movies like Enough Said (opposite the late, great James Gandolfini) have proven that she can ably take on trickier material.
Regardless of who ends up starring in Force Majeure, though, it’s frankly depressing that a redo is being mounted so soon after the original’s release. Similar fates have befallen Indonesian martial arts flick The Raid and British television series Broadchurch and Luther, among many other projects. If American audiences will only see a film that has been watered down or made more palatable for their viewing pleasure, that points to a wider issue of isolationism and exceptionalism that surely can’t benefit worldwide cinema in any way.