When a film becomes a hit and sweeps an awards ceremony, people generally tend to notice. The Spanish film Celda 211 did just that in 2009, wiping out the competition with 8 Goya Awards, including Best film, Director and Screenplay, plus several acting victories.
Now comes word from Deadline that CBS Films is trying to secure the remake rights, with Paul Haggis already on board as a producer who’s eyeing the chance to also write and (if he has the time) direct.
Celda 211 (Cell 211, as the remake will be known as) tells the story of a young man who’s just gotten a job as a prison guard. Feeling like it would make a good impression on his new bosses he shows up a day earlier than he’s supposed to, in order to meet his superiors and get a feel for the place. However, a prison riot breaks out and he’s left unconscious in a cell (hint: #211). Trapped inside the lockdown he decides to try and quell the rebellion from the inside, and get home to his pregnant wife unmurdered.
The basic plot has been referred to as “Die Hard in a Prison” (shouldn’t that be “Con Air in a Prison”?), but that’s way over simplifying things: the original is a tense, well executed character drama that deserved the awards it got. Here’s a radical idea – why not simply release Celda 211 in theaters here instead of going through all the trouble of a remake?