Interview: Jack Reher talks PIN remake

Zachary Leeman talks to screenwriter Jack Reher about his script for the PIN remake…

Not too long ago, we talked to screenwriter Jack Reher about the life of screenwriter and some of his projects currently in production. Among those was the remake of the 80s cult movie PIN.

In a strange turn of events, Reher has released his script for his remake to the web and tweeted it out to his followers not too long ago. The move was to convince fans of the darker tone of the remake and to convince producers that PIN was not just another PG-13 slasher flick, but a thoughtful and creepy R-rated horror movie in the vein of slow boiler flicks like Psycho.

Still, it’s a strange move for a screenwriter to take (leaking his own screenplay) especially when we consider the recent backlash from writer/director Quentin Tarantino when his own script got leaked.

PIN is a strange and creepy story about a family of people teetering on crazy. At the center of the family is the young son Leon who is beginning to have an unhealthy relationship with Pin, a mannequin from his father’s doctor’s office.

I sat down with Reher to discuss his leaking of the script and what the deal is with this new remake of PIN. Enjoy…

Zachary Leeman: Why have you released the script for your remake of PIN?

Jack Reher: Unfortunately, this day and age with the interweb, every script eventually finds its way online. It’s only a matter of time. What happened to Tarantino is another discussion; that was a breach of trust within the people that had The Hateful Eight. I have seen the constant volley of disagreement recently go back and forth about remakes and reboots. Now, I understand from a studio’s perspective, “If it made money in 1983, surely it will make the same coin today with modern effects and a hip cast…”

That’s a double-edged sword. I appreciate that. I admire it. Personally, I loved the prequel to THE THING and what Heisserer did within the confines of the Norwegian camp. A clever stroke. Maybe not the CGI and wish that there were practical effects, but I give them credit for not simply remaking Carpenter’s or Howard Hawks’.

I want a comparison available so that there is a bit of love going into this remake. It’s always nice when audiences are excited about an upcoming film, instead of the pre-hate and judgment. Remember when Jackie Earle Haley was cast as Freddy Krueger? I dug the casting. But diehards were against anything without England.

ZL: What’s the difference from the original film, the novel and your film?

JR: I really went back to the source material. The novel. Neiderman also wrote The Devil’s Advocate. Okay book, great film. Jonathan Lemkin did a bang up job adapting that, pulling the themes and creating a great role for Pacino (originally the Devil was to be played by Sharon Stone, so he wrote it that way first, then she left, then for Pacino).

The original film for Pin has a lot of cool ideas. I expanded on them. Gave them meat. Grounded the characters in a modern reality. Terry O’Quinn’s role in the original was awesome. So I made the role of Dr. Linden have even more depth. He’s a torn man. Trying desperately to keep his family together but not knowing any other way than to be like a doctor and TREAT the symptoms.

His wife, my God, the OCD and meticulousness of her ‘cleaning the world’, she can take care of everyone but herself. Ursula is just the sweet, young teen going through the trials of everyday life, as her body evolves and changes into an object of desire. And Leon. An undiagnosed schizophrenic, confiding in the inanimate medical doll in his father’s office, telling PIN his secrets, fears as the rest of the world progresses and he’s holding back in this psychologically damaged space that he wants to help his father keep the family unit together. Not let the outside world destroy it. And if anyone interferes, he will kill.

ZL: What’s the appeal of this story to you?

JR: I think the appeal to me is that this is a modern day Psycho. We all know Hitchcock’s classic. This sort of spins the dial and reboots the concept for a modern day audience. Leon is the epitome of nuts. We’re just waiting for the hinges to fully give way and him to unleash. But he’s a genius at the same time. Sort of like an un-college-educated Hannibal Lector. When Leon’s watching you, he’s figuring things out. He’s digging deep, finding your fears, and by the end of every scene, either he likes you or you’re soon to be dead.

ZL: Where is PIN at in production right now?

JR: We’ve got some great potential cast lists from the agencies right now for the various roles. Things are chugging along.

ZL: When can fans expect to see this movie?

JR: I can’t begin to guess that. I’d say sometime in 2015. I remember when Mark Canton came and lectured my class at the AFI Conservatory. He made a crack at when he was at Sony and joked about production… he showed us a black production crew t-shirt that said MEN IN BLACK – SUMMER 1994. Sony was very excited about the film, but it didn’t hit screens till 1997.

ZL: What do you have to say to fans that find the original film who may concerned about your remake or even fans of the novel that may have similar concerns?

JR: Don’t be concerned. I love this film. I’ve loved it since I was a kid and when I became involved with the rights of it years back, I told all the parties that this is a film worth revisiting and that I would elevate it to something great. It’s not a slasher. That’s NOT what Pin ever was. It’s not a generic bargain-bin horror flick with teens running around. This is a slow-burn of a psychological thriller that delivers the goods on every level. Even if you are familiar with the original, you’re not familiar with this version which takes it and runs like a madman into the darkness. It’s more profound. Darker. More terrifying. The characters are more textured and crucial to the story. There are no throwaway ones like most horror films nowadays stick in there just to have a “cool kill”. Pin has never been about that. And this remake honors that as you will see in my script.

Many thanks to Jack Reher for taking the time for this interview. You can read his script for PIN here.

Zachary Leeman

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