I once suggested that Hollywood should remake Dial M For Murder, playwright Frederick Knott’s dynamite stage play which was famously adapted into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954. Three years later, my suggestion is finally being heeded: a remake is being developed for television, with Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander executive producing and potentially starring in the project.
Deadline reports that Vikander, who won an Oscar for her performance in 2016’s The Danish Girl, is set to executive produce a Dial M For Murder limited series through her Vikarious Film production company. She’s eyeing a starring role in the show (though that has not been finalized yet), and this iteration reportedly “reimagines the classic suspense thriller story from the female perspective.”
Michael Mitnick (The Giver) is creating the series and will serve as a writer with Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos veteran Terence Winter overseeing the project as an executive producer. Mitnick and Winter previously worked together on Vinyl, Martin Scorsese’s short-lived HBO series. There is no director attached yet.
Interestingly, this version of Dial M For Murder “is being developed as an anthology series with potential follow-up installments in the suspense thriller genre from a similarly female point of view.”
The original play and Hitchcock’s 1954 movie told the story of a former tennis player (Ray Milland) who discovers that his wife (Grace Kelly) is having an affair with an American novelist (Robert Cummings), so he hires a small-time crook to murder her. As so often happens in crime stories like these, things don’t go according to plan and a series of unexpected events occurs, resulting in a thrilling conclusion. The story is expertly conceived and executed (Knotts wrote the film’s script based on his own play), and in stark contrast to a mystery like The Big Sleep, this one feels as if every single loose end is satisfactorily tied up.
With the right material, Vikander can deliver a performance that goes toe to toe with anyone of her generation. I kind of love the idea of her stepping into a classic mystery environment like this, since she’s had some big misses in recent years. I’d love to see her have a bit of a resurgence, and in the meantime, allow me to take this opportunity to encourage you to seek out her work in Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans, which is heartbreaking and profound and lovely and deeply, deeply human.
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