The success of Call Me by Your Name pushed Luca Guadagnino into the spotlight and with his remake of Suspiria coming out later this year, the Italian director is posed to leave an even bigger mark on Hollywood. Here’s what we know about this mysterious project so far.
Dario Argento’s 1977 film Suspiria is a certified cult classic, the kind of horror film that has endured in the 40 years since its initial release thanks to its unique vision, groundbreaking style, and truly terrifying story. Starring Jessica Harper, the film follows a ballet student at a new school who slowly discovers the nightmarish secrets hiding behind every closed door as the students around her begin to die.
It would be an understatement to say that fans of the original Suspiria were not thrilled when news of a remake were announced. Who could blame them? Seeing your favorite movie remade is hardly the most exciting news.
However, despite the outrage of some fans, we still know very little about Guadagnino’s remake. Let’s piece together what we know so far.
How the project came to be
Luca Guadagnino, an Italian director just like Argento, announced his plans to direct the film in 2015. This was the first news of the project since 2008 when director David Gordon Green cast Isabelle Huppert and Isabelle Fuhrman in a remake, but the project ultimately fell through.
Guadagnino’s remake was originally slated for a 2017 release, but with the success of Call Me by Your Name, it was pushed back to 2018 so as not to overshadow Guadagnino’s other film.
The new Suspiria will star Dakota Johnson, who also appeared in Guadagnino’s 2015 film A Bigger Splash. Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, and Chloe Grace Moretz will also appear in the film. Jessica Harper, the lead of Argento’s 1977 film, is also a part of the cast.
The film will be distributed by Amazon Studios.
Don’t call it a remake
Although the new Suspiria is commonly referred to as a remake, Guadagnino has made it clear that he has a very personal connection to the film. In an interview with the Guardian, Guadagnino stated:
“Every movie I make is a step inside my teenage dreams, and ‘Suspiria’ is the most remarkably precise teenage megalomaniac dream I could have had.”
Guadagnino has some words for those that balk at the idea of a remake:
In a way it makes me smile when I hear people say: “How dare you remake Suspiria. Typical commerce-driven mentality.” I was just a boy who had seen a movie that made him what he became. So that’s how I am approaching it: a homage to the incredible, powerful emotion I felt when I saw it.”
For those familiar with Guadagnino’s other work, including Call Me by Your Name, A Bigger Splash, and I Am Love, it won’t come as a surprise to hear Guadagnino speak of his Suspiria remake as a homage to powerful emotions. His work reverberates with powerful emotion – capturing passion, desire, danger, and vulnerability in equal measure.
In an interview with Variety at the 2017 Berlinale Film Festival, Guadagnino provided a few details as to the setting and plot of the film: “It’s set in Berlin in 1977, when Berlin was divided into East and West. It’s a movie about guilt, and it’s about motherhood.”
He also gave some hints as to what the look of the film will be:
“It has no primary colors in its color palette. It’s the opposite of “Call Me by Your Name.” “Call Me” is light, warm, and summer-ish, and “Suspiria” is winter-ish, evil, and really dark.”
That the film will have no primary colors will surely come as a shock to fans of the original – a film known for its dramatic and exciting use of bright, primary colors.
What the cast has to say
Meanwhile, as the cast of Suspiria attempts to keep a tight lip on the film, they’re still dropping hints of what’s to come. In an interview with Allocine, Tilda Swinton said:
“[Suspiria] is inspired by the same story, but it goes in different directions, it explores other reasons…I think people really have to understand that this is not a remake, because the word “remake” gives the impression that we want to erase the original, and the opposite is what we try to do.”
Swinton’s sentiments fall in line with many of Guadagnino’s own comments on the film. There seems to be a strong sense among those involved in the film that their “remake” is not an attempt to mimic what Argento accomplished with his film, but rather to honor that achievement by making something different that pays homage to the original.
Meanwhile, just last week Chloe Grace Moretz was asked about the film during New York Fashion Week:
“I can’t speak about anything about it, it’s very under wraps. Even if I did try to explain it, it’s unexplainable. It’s really its own thing. But I can say that I saw the movie recently and I would go as far as to say that he’s our next Stanley Kubrick, and I think he’s the most prolific director of our time,”
In an interview with Beyond the Trailer, actress Mia Goth echoed these same sentiments, saying that Guadagnino is the best director to bring this story into the 21st century. “It’s not really a remake at all, it’s a nod of the hat to Dario Argento’s version of it. But we definitely do take it to a very different place,” she said.
Music, costumes, cinematography, and more!
As for some of the more technical components of the film, here’s what we know.
First, Thom Yorke – best known for fronting the band Radiohead – was brought on to do the score for the film. Yorke has previously scored Todd Haynes’ film Velvet Goldmine. He will no doubt bring his inventive style to the film, one that demands a score that can keep up with the horror
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, known for his work on Call Me by Your Name and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, did the cinematography for the film. Mukdeeprom is best known for his cinematography that captures the beauty of the natural world, so the prospect of seeing him operate in a far more unnatural, horrific world is exciting.
Giulia Piersanti who worked with Luca Guadagnino on A Bigger Splash and Call Me by Your Name took the reigns on the costume design on this film. For Suspiria, Piersanti stated she “designed an entire wardrobe from scratch.” In an interview with the New York Times, she explained they may attempt to sell a collection of the designs when the film is released.
As for that photo that made the rounds last year that purported to be Tilda Swinton with heavy prosthetics? Guadagnino debunked it. “That’s a complete fake news. They made a picture of my actor Lutz Ebersdorf and they claimed it was Tilda in make-up,” he said in an interview with Yahoo Movies UK.
It’s rumored that the film will be released in October to coincide with both an awards season release and to capitalize on audiences seeking out horror movies.