Antoine Fuqua is directing a remake of the Danish thriller The Guilty for Netflix with Jake Gyllenhaal set to star. So far, so good. But now a surprisingly large cast has been added around Gyllenhaal, including Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Dano, Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, and more. And that’s where things grow slightly confusing. To be clear: these are all good actors, but their addition here suggests that The Guilty remake is going to be very different than the original. Because the original film is almost entirely a one-man show.
In the original The Guilty, “Alarm dispatcher and former police officer Asger Holm answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins.” The plot of the remake is mostly same, although the main character’s name has been changed to the more American sounding Joe Bayler. While there are a few background players here and there, the original The Guilty is a very self-contained movie, with star Jakob Cedergren almost entirely on his own. When a remake was announced and Jake Gyllenhaal was cast, it was assumed that the same scenario would be true – Gyllenhaal, alone in a room, talking on the phone.
But now, Netflix has announced a full lineup of actors around Gyllenhaal: Peter Sarsgaard, Riley Keough, Byron Bowers, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, David Castañeda, Christina Vidal, Paul Dano, Ethan Hawke, Adrian Martinez, Bill Burr, Beau Knapp, and Edi Patterson. So what’s going on here? Either one of two things. One is that The Guilty remake is going to be a huge departure from the original film and have Gyllenhaal’s character surrounded by supporting players. The other – and I think more likely – scenario is that all of these actors will be voice-only performances. The main character talks to a lot of characters on the phone in the original.
Based on the line-up here, I really do think that’s what’s going on. Many of these people – Bill Burr in particular – have very distinct voices, so it would make sense to have them as voice-only actors in the film. Plus, with the coronavirus still a real problem, it will be pretty easy to have these actors record voice-over performances. They probably don’t even need to leave their houses – all the recording equipment could be sent directly to them.
Still, when I saw this long list of names I was more than a little surprised. Mainly because the original film is pretty damn great and I would hate to see a remake squander what made the original so special. The fact that The Guilty is so self-contained, and focused on one guy alone in a room, is what makes it so tense. I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t muck it up. Antoine Fuqua is helming the remake for Netflix, with a script from True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto. No word on a release date yet.
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