Miramax, Focus and Kathleen Kennedy Will TELL NO ONE

Variety reports that Miramax and Focus have acquired rights to remake the French thriller Tell No One, with prolific producer Kathleen Kennedy producing. This is exciting news for me because I’ve read the book and recently caught the movie on DVD. I enjoyed the book by Harlan Coben quite a bit, as I do all his novels, but I thought the movie was even better. How often does that happen?

The story is way too twisty for me to adequately synopsize but here’s the basic premise:  A pediatrician who believes his wife had been abducted and murdered suddenly gets mysterious e-mails from someone eight years later who knows things only his wife would know. The sender wants to set up a meeting but urges him to, you guessed it, tell no one. The doctor gets thrown into a combination of turmoil and hope as he re-investigates the evidence in his wife’s case and probes the possibility that she might be alive. He ignites a chain of events that leads to another death, him being framed for it, his running from police, trying to stay alive long enough to make it to the rendezvous and hopefully see his wife again.

tell_071108090824672_wideweb__300x375I read the book a long time ago but remember there were some loose ends that weren’t tied up by the end. The movie, which won four Cesar Awards, explained everything clearly and made it all believable. The acting is solid all around, from Francois Cluzet as the grieving doctor and Marie-Josee Croze (The Diving Bell and Butterfly) as the possibly dead wife to Kristin Scott Thomas—speaking perfect French—as the lover of the doctor’s sister.

Since I was disappointed by the recent American adaptation of the BBC’s superb State of Play, there’s trepidation mixed in with my excitement about this remake. It’s ironic since this is an American story and the book is set in the U.S. so it’s actually being brought back to its roots. I do have hope in Kathleen Kennedy producing—she produces most of Steven Spielberg’s films—so I thought I’d start casting the American version just for fun.

jon-hamm1For the pediatrician, Jon Hamm or George Clooney would be ideal. The actor has to convey intelligence but can’t look like an action hero because the doctor is just an ordinary guy caught up in extreme circumstances. The wife’s part is much smaller so Cate Blanchett probably wouldn’t do it but Michelle Monaghan or Jennifer Connelly would be great. The pivotal role of the wife’s father, who happens to be a retired police captain, is something Robert De Niro or Anthony Hopkins could knock out of the park. As for the lesbian lover part, why not let Kristin Scott Thomas reprise it?

Anybody else read the book and/or seen the French film? How do you feel about an American adaptation finally being made? How would you cast it?



  • Reply
    May 1, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Loved the book. As I think that I’ve written here before, I’m of the opinion that it’s the one of the best mystery novels written in the past umpteen years. We recently rented the move and we really liked it. At little slow at the beginning, but it took off at just the right time. It includes the best crossing-a-highway-while-running-away scene ever.

    • Reply
      May 1, 2009 at 9:07 am

      Oh my gosh, that crossing-the-highway scene was craaaazy! I think I stopped breathing. And it looked like Cluzet was really doing it, not some stuntman. I kept thinking, They must have had good insurance on this film. And then I thought, It’s like Eddy Murphy in Bowfinger!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2009 at 7:04 am

    I loved both the book and the movie too!
    I must say I was quite proud when French director Guillaume Canet was chosen by Harlan Coben himself to get the rights for the film adaptation. And he did a great job with it!
    So I feel rather upset when I hear that an American producer now wants to remake it!
    Ok, this one was an American product at first, but as G. Canet did his work brightly, why on earth does anyone need to redo it (probably worse I guess)?

    As a movie fan, remakes are a really annoying subject for me!
    I mean, if the work was done once, and nicely done, why do they spend time and energy to redo it when they could use those resources to create something new and original?
    And let’s be honest, 9 out of 10 times, the remake is less good than the first version!
    Ok, now I sound like an old grumpy guy missing the good old days!…

  • Reply
    May 1, 2009 at 8:11 am

    A lot of what commenter Julien says I’m in complete agreement about. Of course if studio execs weren’t wasting our time already remaking someone else’s (older American, or newer European / Asian) successful movies instead of reaching for great original material (like Coben’s book), Tell No One would have been made here, first. Yes, it’s a pet peeve and a game of mine–spotting the remake and naming the original.

    You didn’t think the recent ‘Fighting’ movie was original, did you? See Walter Hill’s 1975 ‘Hard Times’ for some perspective. I wrote a post about this in March.

    Anyway, PCN your casting suggestions are good ones. But a curmudgeon like me loves to grumble 😉

    • Reply
      May 1, 2009 at 9:02 am

      Julien and le0pard13, you aren’t grouches. I agree with you on pretty much everything. Most of the time, remakes are horrible and useless. In fact, I can’t think of any right now that improved upon the original (anyone?). My excitement from hearing about this stemmed more from thinking that maybe the film will get a wider audience here once the subtitles are gone. It’s unfortunate but I’ve recommended the original to people and the minute they hear “French film,” their eyes glaze over.

      Like you said, Julien, Guillaume Canet created a perfect little movie and the American version has more chance of being inferior than better. But me being eternally optimistic until proven wrong, I’m hoping they’ll get some top-notch director (i.e. David Yates or Paul Greengrass, both foreigners—ha!) who’ll at least not ruin the source material.

  • Reply
    May 3, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I read the book and liked it so much I decided to see the French film version on the big screen. I was NOT disappointed. Never a dull moment and it came with a healthy dose of “What the Hell is going on?”, just like the book. I am not so interested in the what Miramax and Kathleen Kennedy will be doing with the book. Americans usually screw up remakes. Instead of being faithful to the book, they try to mirror the original film, but then add some “twists” some MBA studio head with no creativity decided it needed.

    Sorry if I seem a tad bitter, but I recently saw what the American movie studio system did to that great BBC miniseries, State of Play.

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