Mark Olsen‘s 3.9 L.A. Times interview with Funny Games director-writer Michael Haneke mentions British-based producer Chris Coen buying the U.S. remake rights, but it doesn’t explain why the people at Warner Independent saw it as a worthwhile film to distribute. If it had been my decision, I would have said no.
Consider, for example, what a guy who calls himself “Mr. Mystery” wrote earlier today about seeing a Funny Games preview last weekend at a suburban theatre: “Total silence until the end when someone said ‘fuck you!’ to the screen, [and] the audience applauded.” What loon would say to him or herself, “Now that‘s a film I want my company to distribute.” I respect Funny Games for what it is and I admire Haneke tremendously, but what could Warner Independent president Polly Cohen have been thinking?
Olsen writes that Haneke “insisted on casting Naomi Watts — he said he would likely have not made the new film if she had said no.” But why is Watts listed as the film’s executive producer? What was that about? Did she agree to cut her price to nothing so she could have a juicy role to play?