Monday, 10 August 2015

David Fincher's UTOPIA remake for HBO dies in pre-production

Monday, 10 August 2015

Fans of Channel 4's quirky and horrifying thriller Utopia were inconsolable last year, when it was announced the show wouldn't be renewed for a third series. While the final episode sort of works as an ending, the story was clearly intended to continue with a new dynamic. The only silver lining was the prospect of a big-budget U.S remake perhaps becoming a bigger commercial success, to potentially continue the basic story beyond where Channel 4's version left off. And while the idea of American remakes of English-language shows generally causes puzzled looks from English-speakers everywhere, the fact this one was being masterminded by David Fincher (Fight Club) and writer Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), for cable heavyweight HBO, was enough to make me optimistic...

Alas, it seems Utopia's chance of a U.S revival is dead, despite assembling a very impressive cast: Rooney Mara (rumoured to be playing Jessica Hyde), Colm Feore, Eric McCormack, Dallas Roberts, Jason Ritter, Brandon Scott & model-turned-actress Agyness Deyn. All have been released from their contracts, which is a strong sign the project won't be revived at the eleventh hour.

The reason for HBO pulling the plug appears to be down to finances, as they couldn't agree with Fincher on how much to spend on the drama. Ironically, while the original UK series wasn't cheap to produce, it was likely made on the equivalent of a pittance in Hollywood circles, so it's a shame Fincher and HBO couldn't agree on money. I'm sure Fincher wanted to make something more visually ambitious than anything creator Dennis Kelly dare write for British TV, but it's a shame he wasn't willing to compromise... considering the evidence it can be done 'on the cheap' to critical acclaim.

What do YOU think? Are you glad this HBO project has died before a single second had been filmed? Or are you disappointed a potentially excellent big-budget version, from a major talent like Fincher, didn't get made?