Remaking a murderer
How to have another crack at your own film (with Liam Neeson in a snowplough)
IF NEW THRILLER Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson as your regular snow-ploughing vigilante, seems familiar, that’s because it’s a remake of 2014 film In Order Of Disappearance. Norwegian filmmaker Hans Petter Moland — who made both films — talks Empire through the bonkers déjà-vu process of filming your own film again for an Englishlanguage audience.
DON’T AUTOMATICALLY DO IT
“The original got a terrific response at the Berlin [international film] festival and the next morning, America came calling about a remake. I had to give it a serious think. It was a little bit like if you put on a play in Norway and somebody asks you to bring it to Broadway. It’s a chance to speak to a different audience.”
DEVELOP IT WITH A DIFFERENT STAR
“Liam was part of the suggested set-up, and that made it attractive and tempting. He was clearly interested in exploring the humorous aspects of this film. And he didn’t just want to plug and play the Norwegian original. It was a good process to try and make a good film and to understand that character.”
EXPLORE NEW IDEAS
“Because it’s in an American setting — the Rocky Mountains — some new elements are brought into it. Instead of a Balkan gang it’s a Native American gang, which means the satire and prejudices being played with are transposed into other cultural differences.”
HAVE FAITH IN YOUR TONE
“I lived in America for many years, so making it in America with Americans wasn’t a big deal to me. I felt comfortable with American humour and the American way of life. I feel that my sense of humour is not a generic Nordic brand — my dark, dry humour is just as much like a Walter Matthau or Billy Wilder film. So my sense of humour is not foreign to America.”
SPEND THE BIGGER BUDGET
“We had resources to achieve things that we couldn’t in the original. We were able to build bigger sets, which I think contributed greatly to the story: it could place the Native American gang in a setting which resonates with their particular predicament. But filmmaking is funny. It ultimately boils down to a camera and some actors in front of it and a few people behind it.”
COLD PURSUIT IS IN CINEMAS FROM 22 FEBRUARY
Above: Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) seeks Rocky-sloped revenge.Right: Neeson explores “the humorous aspects” of being threatened by a gang member with a gun.
Hans Petter Moland spoke to Empire from his home in Oslo on 9 November.