Catherine Hardwicke Directing Remake of Mexican Narco Thriller ‘Miss Bala’
Miss Bala was the toast of the Cannes Film Festival when it debuted in 2011. Critics heaped hosannas upon the taut thriller based on a real-life incident wherein a Mexican beauty queen was discovered in a truck with a crew of gang members and a shipment of munitions. With ruthless economy, the film detailed the process by which Laura Zuñíga was forced to cooperate with the narcos, eventually earning the nickname of Miss Bala (Spanish for “Miss Bullet,” a pun on the glamour pageant Miss Baja). Like Sicario but a few years ahead of schedule, Miss Bala depicted the south-of-the-border crime culture through the eyes of an unwilling participant. Unlike most drug-war dramas, it’s not defined by heroism or the drive for power — the movie’s fueled by one woman’s perpetual state of stunned terror.
According to a new report from Deadline, Hollywood’s going to get in on exportation from Mexico while the getting is still good. Catherine Hardwicke has been tapped to direct a remake of the film. However the article leaves the extent to which the Twilight director’s take on the material will differ from the original unclear. For one, Miss Bala seems indivisible from its setting in Guadalajara, and the rumor floating around that Gina Rodriguez has been targeted for the lead role would seem to support that. Perhaps the movie will do that weird thing where everyone in a foreign country still speaks English to one another, for the sake of mass marketability in the U.S.
Either way, the one key element that must be retained to succeed is the blistering tension that original director Gerardo Naranjo brought to the film’s bravura action setpieces. It’s been a while since Hardwicke last staged a combat scene (her 2011 adaptation of Red Riding Hood was kind of an action film, I guess) and she’ll need to bring the fire if she wants to match the original for sheer nerve-shredding suspense.