James Marsden is set to star in Screen Gems’ re-imagination of Sam Peckinpah’s infamous 1971 psychological thriller “Straw Dogs” says The Hollywood Reporter.
Rod Lurie (“The Contender”) penned and will direct the new version which, like the Dustin Hoffman-led original, is based on the novel “The Siege at Trencher’s Farm” by Gordon Williams.
The new version will shift the action from rural England to a small town in the deep South where Californian screenwriter David Sumner (Marsden) moves with his wife. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, leading to a violent confrontation.
Considered one of Peckinpah’s greatest works, the movie is often noted for its brutality alongside the likes of more well-known films such as “A Clockwork Orange,” “The French Connection” and “Dirty Harry” which also opened that year.
‘Dogs’ in particular became a point of controversy for the extended sequence in which the wife character is violently raped by two men. The first is an ex-lover who is rough with her and while repulsed at first, she oddly seems to enjoy the experience. Right after however she is raped by a second man during which she is an entirely unwilling participant.
Cuts made for distribution to reduce the duration of the sequence removed much of the second rape, which had the unfortunate side effect of leaving the impression the character may have mildly enjoyed the whole experience.
In the UK the film was banned between 1984 and 2002 due to this sequence. To this day it remains an oft-cited example of Hollywood’s debasement of women.
Marc Frydman will produce and filming is set to begin in August.