Reaction Shot: Elijah Wood is Frank Zito, Total ‘Maniac’

Posted on November 6, 2011 by Deaditor 3 Comments

by Marc Patterson

I always enjoy a bit of news that makes me reflect on the headline for longer than it took the given scribe time to write the piece. In this case I’m talking about the news broken via Bloody-Disgusting and regarding the forthcoming remake of Bill Lustig’s Maniac. It seems that Elijah Wood has signed on to play the lead role of Frank Zito in the upcoming Alexandre Aja/Gregory Lavasseur produced remake. For the time being I’ll refrain from commenting in any sort of depth on whether or not this film will be any good, or will adequately hold up to the original. At this point that truly remains to be seen. The real question I have – Can Wood take on Zito? Can he sink into the role so completely that we forget everything else we know about him? I think he can.

I’ve been looking at Elijah, and his rap sheet, and feel that even though I haven’t seen the script, or have any idea on what direction this remake will take, that he’ll be a great name to have cast for this role. 1 – He’s got brand identity. That’s always key for selling seats. 2 – He’s a big time genre fan. Hell, he’s even been known to even read our humble little “rag” time and again. So that connection to the community of genre fans is there. He’s one of us in that regard, and fully understands the daunting task he’s been put up against. 3 – He has tremendous range, which is where he’ll be truly tested. But again, if anyone is up to the task, and if anyone can respect the source material, it would be Elijah.

All we do know of the story has been succinctly provided via Deadline: Wood plays the role of a serial killer who works at a shop that sells antique mannequins. He finds victims on the Internet and stalks them like prey, all the while suffering from hallucinations that throw him back into the past, when he was abused by his own mother. In his twisted mind, he gains a measure of revenge against his mother with each kill. In fact, this is so little information that we don’t even know if Wood will retain the name of Frank Zito. Nonetheless, I remain open-minded and hopeful for more, knowing what quality work Aja pulled off with The Hills Have Eyes. After all, wouldn’t it be nice for a horror remake to actually NOT suck?

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  • UK Editor says:

    I won’t lie, I had a kneejerk “whathafuck?” reaction when I first read this. But the more I think about it, the more open I am to the idea. Obviously skinny little babyfaced Elijah Wood is physically a million miles away from big old sweaty greaseball Joe Spinnell, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t make for a convincing psycho killer. After all, I believed he could kick Mickey Rourke’s arse in Sin City.

    The only quibble is, of course, whether he should be doing so in a Maniac remake rather than an original film. But, as we’ve been lamenting on the recent Evil Dead thread, there’s no seemingly end to that phenomenon.

    • Deaditor says:

      Well, right. At first when I thought about it I wasn’t sure. But the more I thought about it – and it perplexed me enough to do so – the more it made sense. It could work. Agree again – not sure WHY this is being redone. But, good or bad it won’t take away from how awesome the original is for me, so no real concerns.

  • Todd of War says:

    The original is not a perfect film per se, but it is a perfect film of the time itself. It’s a snapshot of a bygone era’s grim psychosis. It cannot be duplicated. To coin the worst phrase ever created, “It is what it is.” It’s not one of my favs but it is a film I come back to every so often because of its character, its uniqueness, its genuine sweatiness. Aja, Wood, and co are wont to make a remake, let ’em have it. But there’s no way in Hell it will even come close to the uneven spite and hatred of Mr Lustig’s original.

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