Filmstalker (UK), September 23, 2009
Refn talks Jekyll
by Richard Brunton
I do think that the choice of Keanu Reeves to play the legendary Doctor Jekyll from the Jekyll and Hyde stories in Nicolas Winding Refn's new film is a bit of a stretch, and it does feel more like a studio requirement than anything, but speaking about the casting Refn sounds rather more positive.
In fact it sounds like he's positively intrigued by the idea and that that casting Reeves in Jekyll was probably far from a studio choice.
The new film Jekyll will tell the classic Robert Louis Stevenson story of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with Keanu Reeves in the lead role. Now when I first read that I was instantly thinking that this was a studio choice forced on Nicolas Winding Refn, and that he was going with it, but speaking about the casting it sounds like he's rather excited about the idea.
However there's another aspect that tugs at my warning strings, and that's the part about relocating the entire story to America. Not only that but it would seem modern day America.
Now looking back, relocating classic British set films hasn't gone so well in the past for many directors, stars or films, and it's often been something pushed upon them.
Saying that, there have been some films that have come out rather positively from the experience, but right now I can't decide if Jekyll is his studio film to allow him to make one he wants to, or if it really is his own choice and it just sounds a little that way.
Speaking to Cinematical and SciFi Wire through /Film we hear a few interesting words about the choice of Keanu.
”I think Keanu is a very interesting personality. I do think that there’s a great movie within him. I think his visual look is very interesting. So I think that what makes it exciting is that he’s a non-obvious choice, but he actually adds a great sense of curiosity to the film…I do think that doing it would bring great satisfaction to him, to really pull it off. It’s probably the most difficult role any man could play.”
I actually think we've seen some good films in him, in his smaller, non-leading roles, but perhaps Refn just hasn't seen them, after all The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (Filmstalker review) and Thumbsucker probably aren't high on his list. Neither are the far from terrible performances of Constantine, Speed, Bill and Ted or Point Break.
What's interesting though is that he says it will be located in modern day America and that he's going to use as much credible science as possible. Now that's an interesting take to the story, and I think it might actually work. However I still have fears about the lead casting and since it's following so closely on from the superb BBC series Jekyll, I wonder if it's not more of a remake of a great modernisation.
Personally I think they should have gathered the talent from that series and put together a big budget film version.