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Warner wants Ray for “Secret” remake

By Sean O’Connell Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a major Hollywood studio is moving ahead on an American remake of a critically acclaimed, recently released foreign-language drama in hopes of expanding an excellent story to a wider audience.

No, I’m not talking about “Let Me In,” Matt Reeves’ remake of the Swedish vampire thriller “Let the Right One In,” though the box office failure of that miscalculation apparently hasn’t taught Hollywood a thing.

Instead, Warner Bros. is negotiating for the rights to Juan Jose Campanella’s Argentinean murder mystery “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which won the Best Foreign Language Feature Oscar months ago. “Secret” tells the story of an attorney haunted for decades by an unsolved case. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner wants “Shattered Glass” helmer Billy Ray to write and direct, shifting the story from Buenos Aires to the Unites States.

“I want to try to make the movie that Anthony Minghella would have made from this material. Or Alan Pakula,” Ray told THR. “I know that’s setting the bar high, but it’s the only reason to take something like this on. I am beyond excited about it, feeling truly privileged that a studio would take a shot on this kind of material.”

But why? “Let Me In” demonstrated the fact that audiences don’t necessarily turn out for Americanized versions of quality foreign-language films. And yes, Warner reference the success of “The Departed” in the THR story (which was a remake of “Infernal Affairs”), but that was powered by Martin Scorsese’s return to the criminal underworld and an A-list cast.

Perhaps “Secret” will lure similar star power. Ray made a whip-smart drama with “Glass,” but stumbled a bit on the wooden “Breach” with Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe. I have no doubt he’s interested in tackling a “Secret” remake. I just can’t se the point when a fantastic version of the story – the 2009 version – already exists.

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