Paul Haggis in Talks to Write/Direct a Remake of the Spanish Action-Thriller CELL 211

     October 27, 2010


Paul Haggis (Crash) is in talks to write and direct a remake of the Spanish action-thriller, Celda 211 (aka Cell 211) for CBS Films.  The 2009 Daniel Monzón-directed film swept the Goya Awards (basically the Spanish Oscars) — it won such awards as Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.  The film tells the story of a prison guard who is knocked unconscious during his first day at work and wakes up to find himself stuck inside the prison during a riot.

Hit the jump to check out the Spanish trailer for Celda 211 and a full plot synopsis for the film, plus a look at where Cell 211 fits in the trend of foreign remakes.

Deadline describes the film’s premise as “the second coming of Die Hard” and I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve seen the film, which I think is pretty great, and even though the film does have some action scenes, it is also a smart thriller with a not too subtle social/political commentary running through out it.

Unnecessary English language remakes of acclaimed Spanish films seem to be one of the latest trends in Hollywood.  If you recall, Billy Ray (Breach) will helm the English remake of last year’s Best Foreign Film winner, El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes). Then, there is also the news that Mark Pellington (The Mothman Prophecies) will remake the excellent Spanish horror film, The Orphanage.  All I can do is sigh, shake my head, and recommend that all of you out there reading this check out these original great films before the remakes come out.

The official synopsis:


A lawman must side with a gang of criminals if he’s to save his own life in this action drama from Spanish director Daniel Monzón. Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) has accepted a job as a prison guard, and the day before he begins work he leaves his pregnant wife Elena (Marta Etura) at home and goes to the penitentiary for an orientation session. During a tour of the facilities, Juan is struck on the head in a freak accident; he passes out and is carried to a nearby cell. As the jailers wait for a doctor to arrive, a riot breaks out, and Juan is left behind.

When he wakes up, all is in chaos, and Malamadre (Luis Tosar) and a band of fellow inmates have taken control of the prison. Malamadre thinks Juan is another prisoner, and for the sake of his own survival he plays along, throwing in his lot with fellow rebels Tachuela (Vicente Romero) and Releches (Luis Zahera). When Malamadre learns that a handful of Basque terrorists are confined to the same prison, he sees an opportunity to use them as a bargaining chip with the government, and Juan is caught between saving his own skin and helping Malamadre make a deal that could have grave nationwide implications.

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