You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zannou, Gely, Morena, Mare Nostrum Team for ‘I Spit on Your Graves’

Novel from French legend Boris Vian gets a contemporary adaptation

CANNES —  Cyril Gely, scribe of Omar Sy hit “Chocolat,” is adapting U.S.-set thriller “I Spit on Your Graves,” the celebrated American race relations/revenge novel that made and killed -literally – French literary legend Boris Vian, a friend of Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker.

Set in a contemporary Southern U.S., to be shot in English,“I Spit on Your Graves” will be directed by Santiago Zannou, a Spanish Academy best new director Goya winner for “The One-Handed Trick.” Morena Films, producers of Steven Soderbergh’s “Che” and Oliver Stone’s “Comandante,” one of Spain’s best financed and most cosmopolitan of production houses, produces with France’s Mare Nostrum, headed by Alexandra Lebret, which garnered with Morena on Antonio Banderas’ “Altamira.”

Written in 1946, “I Spit” became a sensation when a copy was found on the bedside table of a strangled girl. France’s Catholic Church claimed that the pulp novel’s sexual charge incited her attacker to murder, Patrick Vian, son of Boris Vian, recounted at Cannes.

Zannou’s adaptation will be set however, in a contemporary U.S., a mark of its continuing relevance, 70 years after publication. In it, a mixed-race guy, in his twenties, sees his brother murdered after having an affair with a white woman. In revenge, he seduces as many white woman as he can as events spiral out of control, and the police are soon on his case.

“I Spit on Your Graves” portrays the craziness of youth, the desire to fit in but be different, to break with the establishment, the status quo, something common over all the world, and the desire for revenge creates a large suspense,” commented Zannou, whose father is from Benin, and mother Spanish.

“The film has the style of ‘Shame’ or ‘American Psycho,’ where audiences will like and root for the protagonist, but his acts also generates a certain fear,” he added, saying the film will portray two-way racial hatred.

Per Morena Films producer-partner  Alvaro Longoria, “I Spit on Your Graves” will be structured as a Spain-France-Canada-U.S. co-production, shooting in both Canada and the U.S., with, he aims, a U.S. producer-distributor on board.

“When I read the book, and this is a book that Santiago wanted to make for many years – I thought: ‘This is amazing, it could happen today. This racism is imbedded in society, you just have to scratch a little and there it is.’”

“I don-t think things have changed that much since my father wrote the novel. Planes, cars change, but people-s minds can remain much the same,”Patrick Vian added.

Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) made a 2013 big-screen makeover, “Mood Indigo,” and starring Audrey Tatou and Romain Duris, of Vian’s “L’Ecume des jours.’”

A first adaptation of “I Spit on Your Graves” was released in 1959. Boris Vian attended the premiere, rose to his feet to protest at the film, and dropped dead from a heart attack.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Eyes $40 Million-Plus Debut

    Will Christmas bring a fruitful box office bounty for Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level”? The Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart-led sequel, which arrives in theaters on Dec. 13, is on pace to debut to $40 million to $50 million, according to early independent tracking services. Since tracking has been unreliably for sequels in recent weeks, [...]

  • Pluto TV Picks Up Collection of

    Pluto TV Picks Up Films for Woody Allen Season on U.K. Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom-owned streamer Pluto TV has inked a deal with Signature Entertainment for a collection of Woody Allen movies from the 1990s and will put them out in a dedicated season on its AVOD service in the U.K. Woody Allen Fridays start on the service this week, with the filmmaker’s pictures playing on the Pluto TV [...]

  • Chuck Lorre, Scott Stuber to Keynote

    Chuck Lorre, Scott Stuber to Keynote Variety Innovate Summit

    “The Big Bang Theory” co-creator and TV producer Chuck Lorre and the head of Netflix Films Scott Stuber will keynote Variety’s Innovate Summit presented by PwC on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles. Lorre will share the career experiences that lead to his co-creating and executive producing “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon” and “Mom.” Lorre’s extensive [...]

  • John Williams poses on the red

    'Star Wars' Composer John Williams Nabs 71st Grammy Nom 58 Years After His First

    Composer John Williams received two Grammy nominations, as announced yesterday, bringing his grand total to 71 nominations, with 24 wins to date. Williams was nominated in the composing and arranging field. His “Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite,” written for the new “Star Wars”-themed park at Disneyland, was nominated for best instrumental composition, while his arrangement of [...]

  • Rian Johnson'Knives Out' premiere, BFI London

    Rian Johnson on 'Knives Out,' 'Star Wars' and Toxic Fandom

    Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” is a wickedly funny, fiendishly clever, and surprisingly prescient murder mystery. It succeeds as both a brilliantly constructed puzzle-box of a whodunit, offering up a big reveal that’s extremely satisfying, and as a incisive comment on the class divisions and prejudice that are roiling America. If that sounds medicinal, fear not. [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

    Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” which earlier this year won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, on Thursday added the Asia Pacific Screen Award for best film to its burgeoning trophy cabinet. “Parasite” producer Jang Young-hwan was on hand to accept the award at the end of a ritzy ceremony in Brisbane, Australia. The APSAs, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content