Res­ur­rect­ing a cult clas­sic

FLatLINerS Di­rec­tor Niels Ar­den Oplev on his rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the clas­sic af­ter­life thriller…

Total Film - - Film -

What hap­pens to us af­ter we die?” asks Ellen Page’s bof­fin Court­ney Holmes. “The only way to find out is to see for our­selves.” As premises go, Flatliners is as in­trigu­ing as they come. “This con­cept of med­i­cal stu­dents go­ing be­yond death to ex­plore what’s on the other side is out­ra­geous – in a very cool way!” laughs Niels Ar­den Oplev, the Dane in charge of re-work­ing this Brat Pack sta­ple.

For those hazy on the 1990 orig­i­nal by Joel Schu­macher, it starred Kiefer Suther­land, Kevin Ba­con and Ju­lia Roberts as med stu­dents crav­ing near-death ex­pe­ri­ences. Oplev calls it “a fun, un­usual film” but adds, “I don’t think any­one would call it a mas­ter­piece! It’s more like a cult.” It’s this that gave him and screen­writer Ben Ri­p­ley the con­fi­dence to rub their cin­e­matic de­fib­ril­la­tors to­gether and re­vi­talise a dor­mant idea. “I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel that I could con­trib­ute some­thing new.”

Oplev, of course, has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of a Hol­ly­wood re­make. His 2009 Swedish-lan­guage ver­sion of The Girl With The Dragon Tat­too was re­made two years later by David Fincher. “I was never up­set with David;

char­ac­ters into “highly am­bi­tious” Ivy League stu­dents. “It’s so com­pet­i­tive to go to univer­sity to­day, so I thought that was an in­ter­est­ing mo­ti­va­tion for them to try to do some­thing like this.”

Oplev’s also looked to up­date the fright fac­tor. “When they open a back­door to ev­ery­thing that’s be­yond death,” he grins, “it doesn’t go down qui­etly, right? The old film has its scary mo­ments but the stan­dard for scary has just de­vel­oped so much over 25 years. So the new in­ter­pre­ta­tion has to be scarier than the old film.”

Un­sur­pris­ingly, the di­rec­tor didn’t reach out to Schu­macher for his bless­ing (“No, he would’ve told me to fuck off!”). But just as the clas­sic “to­day is a good day to die” line gets a sort-of-air­ing, Kiefer Suther­land

Ellen Page’s Court­ney heads the re­booted group of stu­dents crav­ing a taste of the af­ter­life. She’s joined by Diego Luna’s Ray and Nina Do­brev’s Marlo (right).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.