Actor gets 'Straw' vote

Marsden tops Screen Gems' redo

James Marsden will star in Screen Gems' re-imagining of the 1971 thriller "Straw Dogs," being written and directed by Rod Lurie.

The new "Straw Dogs" follows Los Angeles screenwriter David Sumner (Marsden), who moves with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, leading to a violent confrontation.

The original, co-written and directed by Sam Peckinpah, saw Dustin Hoffman in the role of Sumner, with the story set in rural England.

Both films are based on the book "The Siege at Trencher's Farm" by Gordon Williams.

Marc Frydman will produce the new "Straw Dogs" with Lurie via the duo's Battleplan Prods. banner. Gilbert Dumontet, who brought the project to Screen Gems, will executive produce. Filming is set to begin in August.

Screen Gems senior vp production Nick Phillips is overseeing the project for the studio.

The movie offers a change of pace for Marsden, more known for such light fare as "27 Dresses," "Enchanted" and "Hairspray" and comic book movies like "Superman Returns." The actor, repped by Endeavor and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is filming Screen Gems' ensemble comedy "Death at a Funeral," directed by Neil LaBute, and he next stars opposite Cameron Diaz in "The Box." (partialdiff)