MGM has decided to change the villains of its upcoming "Red Dawn" remake, despite the long delayed film having been shot back in 2009 and completed post-production.
Based on the 1984 John Milius cult classic, the story follows a group of teenagers who band together to fight back when their home town is invaded by foreign soldiers. In the original they were Soviets, in the remake the hostile force is a coalition dominated by the Chinese.
Now, to keep friendly with the rising superpower and its lucrative box office for American movies, the bad guys will be changed to North Koreans whose military isolationism means American media corporations have no potential revenue at stake. The country's hostile international reputation and far smaller expatriate population will also likely mitigate some of the calls of racism that will undoubtedly be levelled at the film.
Producer Tripp Vinson gives an unconvincing PR spin quote to the The Los Angeles Times, telling them that "We were initially very reluctant to make any changes. But after careful consideration we constructed a way to make a scarier, smarter and more dangerous Red Dawn that we believe improves the movie."
He goes on to explain that the changes will cost less than $1 million. That includes digitally erasing Chinese flags and military symbols in two key scenes, substituting dialogue, and altering the opening sequence which sets up the story's fictional backdrop.
Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise and Edwin Hodge star in the Dan Bradley-directed film which will finally score a release later this year.
Last year's very similarly plotted Australian film, "Tomorrow, When the War Began", avoided the issue through careful wording so as to never tie the invading force to a specific country other than a non-specific Asian nation. The book series upon which the film is based does the same, though it's commonly believed the invaders are from immediate northern neighbour Indonesia.