Q&A with “Straw Dogs” Director

Filmmaker Rod Lurie continued his tradition of coming to Syracuse University to present his most recent work, “Straw Dogs,” to a large audience Friday night at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A remake of Sam Peckinpah’s controversial 1971 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George, Lurie’s film is just as brutal and certainly holds its own when compared to its predecessor. Here, Lurie talks to The Daily Orange about the process of remaking the film and how his version will compare to the original picture.

Q: Alexander Skarsgard is absolutely dazzling in the film. How does he compare to Del Henney, the actor whose role he inherited?
A: Well this is the one area where I will lay my cards out and tell you that we did exceed the original in the casting of Alex. We found Alexander before he really exploded, and he met with myself and with Clint Culpepper several times, and we were unsure because he wasn’t necessarily a big name and Alexander in person is unbelievably sweet, and very Swedish. But he translated into something absolutely extraordinary and I think that the Charlie in our film is somebody that you can much better understand why Amy was ever into him in the first place. In the original film I don’t necessarily think that you spend an hour, especially the women in the audience, arguing who you would rather see Amy with. In this film that certainly is the case because he comes across as very down-to-earth, very rugged, very much a man, very unpretentious, which is sort of the opposite of how David is perceived in the film. You’re going to see the emergence of Alexander as one of the biggest stars in the world. I doubt I’ll be able to get him on the phone in two years.

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