Those thinking that Universal's remake of one of Hitchcock's most populist films The Birds was going to be another soft affair along the same lines as The Omen and even The Wicker Man, are in for something of a shock. Variety report that Casino Royale director Martin Campbell is in talks to helm the movie. So that's a big studio (Universal), a big name actress (Naomi Watts) and now a big name and proven director. This isn't some hack who is quite happy to get his hands on a franchise property. This is a director who time and time again is trusted with resurrecting or remaking forgotten franchises. He's done it twice with Bond (last year and a decade ago with GoldenEye), he did it with The Mask of Zorro (though his second attempt with a sequel did fail) and it now looks as if he has been given The Birds to work his wonders with.
If talks go well, this will be Campbell's first horror feature and is something of a career change for a director known for his action-filled movies. Suprisingly in this climate, Universal aren't looking to rush this picture into production and have instead opted for the film to sit out the potential strike and film it late 2008 at the earliest. This may be because Watts is busy with several projects, and Campbell himsef already has two directing gigs already lined up (remake of the French crime/thriller 36 and the runaway train movie Unstoppable, both setup at Fox). Very strange choice and someone who I would have never thought of. Campbell is a safe and steady director though is that what they need here for The Birds? Unless Campbell has a particular passion for this project, then ideally you want someone like Zack Snyder... a young helmer who has new ideas and isn't afraid to take risks with the material. The Birds has suddenly become a big deal for Universal and it's getting the bid budget/big talent treatment. It's the easiest of the Hitchcock 'A-list' movies to remake at this point but with Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes also on board, and their track record of remakes... I wouldn't expect too much from this movie.