An obvious irony is ignored by Dennis Lim in his 8.12 N.Y. Times essay about the persistence of the body-snatcher metaphor in American cinema, with four films based on or inspired by Jack Finney‘s original 1955 novel having been made over five decades — Don Siegel‘s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (’56), Phil Kaufman‘s same-titled version (’78), Abel Ferrara‘s Body Snatchers (’93 and now Oliver Hirschbiegel‘s The Invasion, which comes out Friday.
Nicole Kidman in The Invasion
All of these works have been, as Lim puts it, “unmistakable portrait[s] of individualism under siege” — about hordes of fair-minded mainstream pod guys doing whatever they can to persuade the last rebel holdouts to go to sleep and become conformist pods themselves.
And yet Lim doesn’t mention that late in The Invasion‘s principal photography phase (or in the early post-production phase) HIrschbiegel was himself surrounded and overwhelmed by Warner Bros. pod producers who wanted him to make a more conventionally satisfying horror film — i.e., one that presumably delivered the usual shocks and whammies. Hirschbiegel was replaced — i.e., forcibly “put to sleep” — and his original cut was largely rewritten and re-shot by the Wachowski Bros.
Maybe Hirschbiegel’s original cut was awful, and maybe the “suit” version is a good ride. But how could anyone write about The Invasion and not at least allude to this?