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Feature: The Omen (6-6-6)

Wicked Words: Resurrecting The Omen

He's back We meet the new Omen scriptwriter, Dan McDermott

How do you remake a fantastically successful film, retaining elements from the original while making the new version equally interesting? That was the challenge facing screenwriter Dan McDermott when asked to readapt the 1976 genre classic The Omen.

“When I first talked to the studio about it last summer,” recalls McDermott, “we all agreed, ‘Let’s do right by a remake. Let’s not turn it into a different kind of story.’ The amazing thing about the original movie is if you watch it today, it still holds up really well. What I think we improved on pretty successfully is the idea that the story almost has more relevance in the world we live in today than in the Seventies, so we really wanted to contextualize it, make it feel that this is going to happen.

“Obviously there was also the date of 06/06/06 that everybody was looking to hit, so we were crafting the movie to keep the same spine of the story while bringing it into the present day with all the advances in film-making technology and everything else, and it all happened pretty quickly. I jumped on board the third week in July and wrote the script very quickly, maybe three or four weeks and we were off and running by September. The movie went into production the second week of October and finished before Christmas and is coming out in June.”

One of McDermott’s biggest contributions to the remake was to embellish the characters of Robert and Katherine Thorn, played by Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles. “If you look at the spine of the movie, certainly the first half of it, we’re dealing with a guy who had made this morally questionable decision of switching the babies. He does it for the right reasons, because he’s worried about how his wife is going to handle the loss of their child, and we see his slowly growing realization that something is wrong.”

by Joe Nazzaro

Read the full interview, plus interviews with make-up artists Matthew Mungle and Chris Burgoyne in
Shivers #128

Photo © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Shivers #128, see below for ordering options
Shivers #128
July 2006
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