EXCLUSIVE: What Have You Done To Solange? is rounding out a trio of classic horror remakes being undertaken by Nicolas Winding Refn. The 1972 giallo film was originally helmed by Massimo Dallamano and produced by Fulvio Lucisano. As with the upcoming re-dos of Maniac Cop and Witchfinder General, Refn will produce but not direct. His Space Rocket, in which he’s partnered with Lene Borglum, is teaming with Lucisano and his Italian International Film on the project.
Much as with Witchfinder, on which he’s partnered with Rupert Preston, Refn is teaming on Solange with a longtime collaborator in Lucisano who has released all of his films in Italy. He also produced 1965’s Planet Of The Vampires, a restoration of which Refn presented in Cannes last week. The Danish filmmaker tells me he’d been eyeing Solange for some time, and he and Lucisano had recently talked about hooking up on a remake. But it was the day after the Planet Of The Vampires screening that they decided to officially move forward.
Loosely based on the Edgar Wallace mystery novel The Clue Of The New Pin, What Have You Done To Solange? is set at an all-girls school where a killer is on the loose. Gym teacher Enrico Rosseni, who has been sleeping with one of his students, becomes a suspect and sets out to find the real killer. Ennio Morricone scored the original.
Refn calls it an “absolutely incredible Italian giallo movie. One of the great, great horror films from the period.” The giallo genre began in Italy in the mid 60s and rose to popularity in the ’70s. Films are often characterized by mystery, horror and eroticism. Dario Argento and Mario Bava are among the names most associated.
The addition of the title to Space Rocket’s slate, Refn tells me, is part of a “continuing renewal of genre movies, and bringing them to a new audience. I’ve really cherry-picked films that I think have a strong potential to be reinvented and also something that is artistically out there.”
Overall, the roster of remakes is also part of a desire on Refn’s part to bring more independent genre movies back to LA. Maniac Cop, which is the first in a trilogy, and Solange will shoot locally. Refn says, “We produced Neon Demon very successfully in Los Angeles for a very minimal price and it was a great experience for everyone. It’s such a shame that the city doesn’t have more of those kind of productions because there’s such a need for it to keep the independent industry alive.”
Development on Solange begins today; Refn took preliminary meetings in Cannes to start talking about directors and writers for the $5M-$10M budget pic. They won’t necessarily be first-timers; “There’s no written law, just who’s best and right for the job. Open season as always,” says Refn.
As for going into production, Refn says it’ll be whenever it’s possible. That’s the main challenge since he’s planning his next directorial effort for next year. “This has to fall in between even though I’m only producing,” he says.