NEW YORK – If Hollywood is doing remakes of films by the master of American thrillers Alfred Hitchcock, then why not those of his French equivalent? Producers Lewis B. Chesler and David M. Perlmutter have made deals for three English-language remakes of films directed by Claude Chabrol, which will be produced by Chesler/Perlmutter Prods. with French producer Pierre Richard Muller of Artedes S.A.
The first film will be “Damned Innocents,” a remake of Chabrol’s 1975 “Les Innocents aux Mains Sales,” which will be directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (“List Noire”) from a script by Jeremy Lipp. It’s in pre-production in Portugal. The original starred Romy Schneider, Rod Steiger and Jean Rochefort. The second film will be “The Butcher,” a remake of “Le Boucher,” about the hunt for a serial killer in France. Kit Carson, who scripted the remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” wrote the script. The third film is “Bad Girls,” a remake of “Les Biches,” the story of a menage a trios that leads to murder. Canadian playwright Judith Thompson wrote the script, and Aline Isserman will direct. The French director has credits that include “L’Uombre Du Doute.”
Chesler/Perlmutter, primarily an independent supplier of TV programs such as the HBO anthology series “Hitchhiker” and “Strangers,” recently branched out into features. Chesler, who has filmed many episodes of the series in France, felt Chabrol would be perfect remake material. Unlike Hitchcock, most Americans haven’t seen the French director’s original work.
“What a lot of French directors like Chabrol did was take American genre material, but infuse it with a deeper and darker psychology than had been customary,” Chesler said. “They had greater latitude to investigate sexuality and darker areas of human behavior, places American noir filmmakers wanted to go but were restrained by morals and standards clauses. Chabrol is a great master and has never been remade, and I thought when the opportunity presented itself, it was a natural extension of the kind of things we had been doing.”