The modern reboot of the classic Hitchcock horror film The Birds is finally happening. It’s been talked about for several years but no progress has been made on a new version of the film until recently when a director finally came on board. Dutch director Diederik Van Rooijen has been tapped to direct a new interpretation of The Birds. Van Rooijen hasn’t directed an English language film before, or any film that has as much riding on it as this film. So only time will tell if he is up to the job. None of the main roles have been cast yet, so fans will have to wait and see what starts take on the roles originally made famous by Tippi Hedron, Jessica Lange, and Rod Taylor. It may be several more years until filming begins depending on how long it takes to cast the film, but hopefully the production will begin in the next year.
It’s not an easy task to tackle a remake of one of the most well-loved films in history. Hitchcock has many famous films that have made it to the ranks of cinema icons but The Birds might be his most critically acclaimed and popular film. It was the 48th film of his long career and it was the culmination of a lot of his work in the horror genre. The film is considered one of the top horror movies of all time. It’s also been included in the American Film Institute’s list of the best movies of all time.
A real event inspired the writing of The Birds. In 1961 there was a mass bird death in a town in California. The deaths were eventually attributed to a rare and natural mass poisoning, but at the time the town residents were terrified by birds dropping dead out of the skies and massive piles of dead birds everywhere. Hitchcock was fascinated by this event and wanted to incorporate it into a film in some way. What could be more horrifying than walking outside and having dead birds fall from the sky onto you? Being attacked by birds in a completely random way without knowing how to stop the attack or what is causing it. Hitchcock used the universal fear of random violence to craft a story that is terrifying because audiences can believe that it might really someday happen without warning.
He also hired a writer to adapt a short story called The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier for a film script. In the story birds attack the residents of a town in large groups leaving the residents terrified to leave their homes. Once the original story has been fleshed out Hitchcock and the writers added a layer of suspense by creating a backstory that the residents of the town were someone able to control the birds and used them as a way to punish people who didn’t obey the unwritten social codes in the town or strangers that threatened their peaceful way of life.
The film was not without controversy. Tippi Hedron later went on to say that working with Hitchcock was unpleasant and that he had tried to ruin her career. When the remake idea was originally conceived in 2007 Hedron was not in favor of the remake because the original film is considered to such an iconic film. After that the film project stalled until now. With Roojien on board to direct the remake of The Birds can finally start moving again.
Whether or not fans will embrace the remake of the film remains to be seen. Sometimes a well done remake of the classic film can be a great way to pay tribute to a wonderful film. But if the reboot isn’t done well then fans will not be happy to see one of the scariest films of all time reduced to a punch line in a bad remake. Rooijen definitely has his work cut out for him when it comes to creating a new interpretation of such a classic film that both critics and audiences will like. Hopefully he can rise to the occasion and create a suspenseful new version of Hitchcock’s famous film.