Kuzui duo to remake Buffy—without creator Joss Whedon?

BTVS MovieIf earlier this week you woke up and heard an anguished cry all over the Internet, you have the Whedonites to blame for that.

The fans of writer/director/creator Joss Whedon are known for being an unruly, fiercely devoted lot and it was their cry upon learning from The Hollywood Reporter that Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband Kaz Kuzui (who were responsible for directing and producing 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie) are going to be remaking and/or relaunching the franchise without Whedon’s input, blessing, or influence that rumbled across the ‘tubes.

Instead, it’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison of Vertigo Entertainment (executive producers on The Ring and The Departed) who will be working with the Kuzuis on this new iteration.

From the article:

The parties are meeting with writers and hearing takes, and later will look for a home for the project. The producers do not rule out Whedon’s involvement but have not yet reached out to him. Speaking from Tokyo, Fran Kuzui said the company is constantly approached not only about sequels but theater, video games and foreign remakes for Buffy. When Vertigo’s Lee contacted them, they were intrigued.

“It was Roy’s interest in taking Buffy into a new place that grabbed us,” she said, noting that original exec producer Sandy Gallin also was consulted. “It was based on our respect for what he does, and his particular sensitivity to Asian filmmakers, that we wanted to work with him.”

A Variety article written later in the week has a bit more insight straight from a horse’s mouth: “Now seems like the right time,” said Vertigo principal Roy Lee. “Studios are looking for a franchise and vampires are relevant again.”

Taking a look at Lee and Davison’s producing record, I can understand why the Kuzuis want to work with him, and it’s more than just their “particular sensitivity to Asian filmmakers”—it’s the fact that they know how to put a project together well.

I mean, what Asian film fan in their right mind would have ever thought that a U.S. version of Infernal Affairs would ever turn out well? And yet, Departed has a 92% Tomatometer reading, which goes to show that not all remakes are terrible things.

It’s only because of their record that I’m withholding judgment until find out more. And if that makes me a traitor to the Whedonite cause, well then… I think I’m going to run and hide now.

Posted on May 28, 2009 at 05:53 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News

11 Responses

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  1. Written by djpowwow
    on 2009-05-28 at 06:45

    I’ve been a fan of the majority of Whedon’s TV work for years. That being said, I’m actually intrigued by the idea of a non-Whedon “Buffy” movie. I wonder if they’ll ask Paul Reubens to come back…

  2. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2009-05-28 at 07:34

    The Departed is always my go-to example for why remakes are not always bad. It’s a matter of opinion, of course, but I like the gritty remake more than the slick, posturing original.

  3. Written by Squidyj
    on 2009-05-28 at 12:12

    I can’t stand the ending on The Departed.
    “Alright, movie’s over, kill everybody”

    Also I thought the focus on Nicholson’s character was a little unbalancing. Of course I come here from the position of having watched Infernal Affairs first and loving it, so that might be influencing my opinion.

  4. Written by ArgentAngel
    on 2009-05-28 at 13:47

    I am extremely split on this.
    1. I’m a Whedonite
    2. I never watched Buffy, but I did watch Angel
    3. The Departed is my favorite movie

  5. Written by mike
    on 2009-05-28 at 15:52

    there is something about vampires being “relevant” that just rubs me the wrong way. i understand that they are popular, but that particular word choice is just grating.

  6. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on 2009-05-30 at 07:53

    Squidyj: I agree that they got a little trigger happy with the ending of Departed, but it didn’t bother me all that much.

  7. Written by Alex
    on 2009-05-30 at 15:38

    I think that the problem with the ending of the Departed was that the filmmakers didn’t want the movie to have a happy ending, but at the same time didn’t want the villain to not suffer any consequences. It seemed to me like just they didn’t know how to do that without killing everyone. I’ve actually wondered if the film would have gotten an Oscar if they had gone the happy ending route. Of course the REAL problem that I had with the ending was the blatantly obvious final shot of the rat in front of the State House. Way to be subtle guys.

  8. Written by Sarah
    on 2009-06-01 at 07:15

    I don’t have a source, but I have heard that Joss said he “hopes it’s cool.” Not a blessing, but not a condemnation. I’m extremely skeptical.

  9. Written by Trisha Lynn
    on 2009-06-01 at 09:01

    @Sarah: That source was one line in an Entertainment Weekly blog post. Not worth linking to, and not enough of a statement to report on, but it definitely prompted much Whedonite speculation on what he meant by that statement.

  10. Written by Gordon
    on 2009-06-01 at 13:47

    @Alex: The rat made me groan a little.

    Really, Marty? Really.

  11. Written by Ali
    on 2009-06-02 at 09:47

    Groan – why can’t they just leave a good thing alone?
    I love the Buffy series, and while I do get a little giggle out of the first Buffy movie, I really think the franchise could have done without it (even if it did come first) and same goes for this new Buffy.
    They could have Tarantino behind the new Buffy and I would still disapprove.
    It’s all just a money grab.

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