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Exclusive: Jared Harris Talks “POLTERGEIST” Remake and His New Role

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Jared Harris, a veteran performer who truly broke out with a stunning turn on MAD MEN, has turned his eye to a pair of ghost stories with legacy behind them. This spring, he stars in THE QUIET ONES, the latest film from the revamped Hammer and one which is sourced in real experiments intended to create a poltergeist out of belief. Then, next year, he finds himself in one of the more curious productions of the current remake culture: a new take on the 1982 classic POLTERGEIST.

A pinnacle of the genre, POLTERGEIST was less elevated by plot—it was in a long tradition of ghost stories, after all—but by the characters and filmmaking voices that informed it. So, what then, is to be gained from invoking the title in a new film? And what will that film, directed by MONSTER HOUSE’s Gil Kenan look like? Speaking about THE QUIET ONES for an upcoming issue of FANGORIA Magazine, Harris dove into the nature and tone, as well as his completely new role, of POLTERGEIST 2015.

Find the excerpted quotes below:

FANGORIA: What can you tell us about the Poltergeist remake?

JARED HARRIS: Obviously it’s a remake of Poltergeist and a reimagining of that story. It’s obviously going to be similar to the original movie, but it has quite a different take in that it’s going to be much more focused on the experience of the children rather than the adults. We had great fun doing it. We had a fantastic cast; the children were great. And Gil Kenan is really incredibly accomplished in the way he understands all the visual and stylistic techniques that are available to him as a filmmaker.

But you really have no idea… once the picture is wrapped you’re not involved in the process, and there’s a hell of a lot of process to occur before you see a version of the film. I believe that we all did fantastic work so I’ll be really surprised if it’s not good! But you know, remakes are a weird thing. They have more to do with the titles… The marketing people seem not to know how to make people aware of a new concept or a new title and they’d rather take an old one that people are aware of and do that. As an actor if you’re not prepared to do sequels and remakes and reboots, you’re not really going to work that much!

FANG: You must have sparked to something in the screenplay…

HARRIS: I loved the original POLTERGEIST and what I liked about this version, particularly with regard to myself, was that the character I play wasn’t in the original. So it was immediately different. The function of the character is the function of the Zelda Rubenstein character, but my character is an Irish ghost hunter from television who gets roped in to come and help them out. So there’s immediate suspicion that he’s full of shit! Because why wouldn’t you think that? So it’s being approached from a completely different point of view. It was fun; it was good fun to do.

THE QUIET ONES is in theaters April 25, 2014, while POLTERGEIST is expected February 13, 2015.

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About the author
Owen Williams
Owen Williams read English Literature at university during the '90s, but preferred the company of engineers and physicists because they liked STAR TREK and metal. A regular contributor to Empire magazine, he has also been widely published elsewhere, and lives in the South-East of England with an academic and a cat. He doesn’t really blog and very rarely tweets.
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