Vincent Newman is one of the producers of the upcoming “Red Dawn” remake and was good enough to reach out after the L.A. Times story about the switch from Chinese to North Korean invaders exploded online. After a couple of conversations, I can tell you that he and everyone else involved in the film appear to be absolutely committed to the original, especially the central message surrounding the importance of fighting against tyranny and for America and liberty.
The switch to North Korea for the reasons spelled out in the L.A. Times piece is maddening, but as far as the film itself goes, my main concern isn’t who the invaders are, it’s the themes explored throughout the story. Will we be presented with young people forced to grow up and come to grips with the fact that America is worth fighting and dying for? Will duty, valor, self-sacrifice and manhood drive the narrative? If the answer is yes, the North Korea stuff is academic — just a revealing look at the studio mindset, not the quality of the film.
When I first spoke to Vincent, the idea was that I would write something up afterwards in the form of an interview, but after hearing him out I thought a better idea would be for him to communicate directly with the BH community — and so in the spirit of Big Hollywood, a group site where we encourage artists to come on board and talk about their projects — he generously agreed.
I received this email yesterday afternoon with permission to publish it in full:
There has been a great deal of commentary and speculation as to the nature of the latest round of changes that have been made to our remake of Red Dawn. I’m reaching out to you in hopes of adding some facts that might give greater insight in to what has actually occurred.
As has been rightly pointed out, all of the filmmakers loved the original Red Dawn. Our hope is that the remake can have the same generational effect in the present that the original did, and still does, for so many of us. Therefore, the utmost of care has been applied to all aspects of the production, including the ever-evolving and on-going editing/revision process that occurs on every film.
Once Red Dawn is finally seen by an audience, we hope it is found to be an entertaining and heart-pounding action film worthy of its name. Also like the original, the film tells the story of a group of teenagers who face a choice to fold, or ban together to fight for their country against an invading force made up of and supported by multiple international players. It is about a generation of kids who have everything that everyday Americans possess, including the inheritance of freedom. Now, they must learn what it is like to have to fight for that freedom on their own soil, or lose it. In doing so, they both learn the value of freedom, and demonstrate to others why their home is worth fighting for.
It should be pointed out that nearly everyone who has commented on the film in the media has neither seen it nor been told specifically what the on-going revisions entail. It might be helpful to know that the film’s set-up is based on suggestions and input from some of the country’s leading think tanks in the intelligence, military and foreign relations community. The elements surrounding the global forces and events resulting in the invasion of US territory– while fictional– are absolutely viable, and in truth, are as realistic if not more so than any version or cut of Red Dawn.
Even amidst challenging economic times so much is taken for granted, including our freedom. It seems worthy to me that we have found an entertaining and credible way to portray a group of young people fighting for a cause in which we all can believe. As Red Dawn is made available to audiences around the world, we hope they will arrive at a similar conclusion.