We’re so used to seeing international cinema get remade in the States in one form or another that we barely blink an eye these days, even when it’s a film relatively successful with mainstream audiences, like Parasite. For film fans it can be a frustrating process – the one inch barrier shouldn’t be that hard to climb over – but an interesting development has now seen an Irish movie optioned for its own English-language remake. As reported on ScreenDaily by Irish media writer Esther McCarthy, Arracht has been optioned for a remake by a US company.
Though the famine thriller’s release has been continuously delayed by Covid restrictions and cinema closures, it was Ireland’s selection for Best International Feature film at this year’s Oscars. And though it ultimately missed out on the final selection for the award won by Another Round, Arracht has had strong word of mouth for some time now, and its eye-catching premise certainly makes sense as catnip for film producers.
Directed by Tomás Ó Súilleabháin, Arracht was produced by Cúán MacConghail of Macalla Teoranta and backed by Screen Ireland, BAI and TG4. Starring rising Irish talent Dónall Ó Héalai, the Irish language film tells the story of a fisherman living in Connemara in the west of Ireland as The Great Hunger approaches in 1845. He is forced to go on the run following a violent night of events when he confronts a local landlord. Righteous and relevant, the film has received plenty of acclaim from critics and festivals alike. And now it looks set to be remade in English.
The film has been optioned for a US remake by Greg Shapiro’s Kingsgate Films and Patrick Milling-Smith and Brian Carmody of Smuggler. Shapiro is best known as the Oscar-winning producer of The Hurt Locker. The original film will be released in Irish cinemas by Breakout Pictures on October 15th.
What do you make of a film as Gaeilge being remade in English for audiences abroad? A success story for Ireland’s own or a steamroller over the language – let us know your thoughts on Twitter at @filmindublin.