There’s a saying “Monkey see, monkey do,” and Douglas Wick, an American movie producer who has seen Avi Nesher’s latest feature film, The Monkey House, wants to do a remake of it in English.
Wick, best known for producing the Oscar-winning epic Gladiator, as well as such movies as The Great Gatsby (2013) with Leonardo DiCaprio and the Divergent series, saw The Monkey House in Los Angeles recently and expressed interest in creating an American version, Nesher said in an interview last week.
The Monkey House, which won rave reviews when it premiered just a week before the beginning of the war, tells an offbeat, funny, and moving story of a bitter novelist – played by Israel’s premiere stand-up comedian, Adir Miller – who wants to burnish his reputation and hires a ready-for-anything aspiring actress who has a shaky relationship with the truth, portrayed by rising star Susanna Papian. Yaniv Biton, Shani Cohen, and Ala Dakka costar in this literary mystery.
A movie drawing audiences despite the Hamas war
In spite of the movie theaters being closed for much of October due to the war, the movie has continued to draw audiences, and during the Israeli Cinema Day event on February 7, more than 50,000 viewers saw The Monkey House.
Nesher said that soldiers have been enjoying the movie when they return from the front.
“Reservists who have been discharged have been renting halls and asking me to come and talk about the movie,” he said, pleased that the movie has provided escapism during the war.
A number of Israeli movies and television series have been remade in the US in recent years. Nadav Lapid’s The Kindergarten Teacher was remade in an English version starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, as was Assaf Bernstein’s The Debt, in which Helen Mirren played the role originated by Gila Almagor.
Other movie remakes are in the works, among them English versions of Eytan Fox’s Cupcakes and Ofir Raul Graizer’s The Cakemaker.
The list of small-screen international remakes of Israeli series is even longer, and includes the Israeli series Prisoners of War, which was remade as the Emmy-winning Homeland.