Shall We Dance?
October 15, 2004
Since Hollywood is unwilling to believe that audiences will go see a film with subtitles (and in all fairness, we haven't really been proving them wrong), a foreign hit still must go through the inevitable English language remake. In the case of Shall We Dance?, the original comes by way of Japan, where to suggest it was a major hit would be to greatly undersell it. It swept Japan's version of the Oscars in 1997, winning everything, except of course, Best Foreign Film. It wasn't too shabby as an import either, earning just under $10 million, a King's Ransom for a a foreign language film.
The movie tells the story of a Toyko accountant searching for fulfillment in his life that his job just isn't providing. A chance spot of a figure standing in the window of a dance studio sparks his interest and he decides to take ballroom dance lessons. In conforming Japan, this is a scandalous notion, and would be something like quitting your job to run away with the circus. It's hard to imagine this translating with the same impact here.
Talk at the time had Tom Hanks taking the lead role but has since morphed into Richard Gere as a burned-out Chicago lawyer (no doubt weary of using the liquor and jazz defence) using ballroom dancing to shake out his doldrums, with Jennifer Lopez playing his inspiration. The original proceeded not to a romantic comedy formula, but a dance contest, and is more about what inspires us in our lives. It will be interesting to see whether director Peter Chelsom(Serendipity) can keep the charm and spark of the original while translating it for a North American audience. (Reagen Sulewski/BOP)
Comparison films for Shall We Dance?
|Save the Last Dance
|Dance With Me
|Forbidden Dance, The