In Columbia Pictures’ new suspense thriller Straw Dogs, a Hollywood screenwriter (James Marsden) and his actress wife (Kate Bosworth), return to her small hometown in the deep South to prepare the family home for sale after her father’s death. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, including the wife’s ex-boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård), leading to a violent confrontation.
Directed and screenplay by Rod Lurie, the film is based on the 1971 movie of the same title written by David Zelag Goodman and Sam Peckinpah who adapted the novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm by Gordon Williams.
When Rod Lurie set about the task of revisiting Peckinpah’s controversial 1971 film “Straw Dogs,” foremost in their minds was capturing the scary intensity of the story and its exploration of the darkest human behavior, but also reconfiguring its horrific contours for the realities and moviegoing sensibilities of a new generation.
“Peckinpah had a very definite point of view of human beings and how they behaved,” says Lurie, of the original film’s shocking violence. “He was very much a pessimist, and I believe I’m an optimist. So I thought it might be an interesting experiment to see whether or not you can do the same story, but tell it from a different point of view.”
Working more from Gordon William’s novel, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm than from Peckinpah’s film, Lurie felt that updating the story and bringing its special psychological terror into the classic American setting of a small Southern town — where life was ruled by how the football team performed on Friday night and the townspeople’s roles were a clearly defined hierarchy — would bring a modern edge to what is at heart a powerful and ultimately terrifying examination of a relationship being incomprehensibly tested and torn apart.
Lurie then set about regrounding everything in William’s novel, shifting the location to a small fictional Southern town steeped in traditions of brutality, and transforming the characters into roles within that classic American setting.
“It’s not so much that it’s the South,” explains Lurie. “What I wanted to define was a culture where violence was a part of their everyday life, where they’re hunting, where there’s football – which I adore – and where their people solve things through fights. Where machismo rules.”
One thing Lurie insisted should not change, was the central core of the story’s menacing buildup, which forces a reluctant hero to use violence in order to defend his wife, his property and both of their lives – and whether after being shattered, his marriage could ever be rebuilt.
Opening soon across the Philippines, “Straw Dogs” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.sonypictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.