Aja Reeled in for Piranha

Look out, Nemo, there may be some killer CG fish making their way to the big screen as Hollywood continues its love affair with horror remakes. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that French filmmaker Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension) has signed on to direct Dimension Films’ redo of Joe Dante’s 1978 low-budget creature feature Piranha. Aja’s, whose last directorial effort was the financially successful remake of Wes Craven’s 1977 cult classic The Hills Have Eyes, is also rewriting the script for Piranha and will serve as a producer.

Produced by schlock master Roger Corman to capitalize on the popularity of Jaws, the original Piranha boasts a screenplay by respected filmmaker John Sayles and some brief stop-motion animation work by vfx guru Phil Tippett. The story had killer fish from the Amazon accidentally released from a research facility and unleashed on unsuspecting resort patrons and summer camp kids. The piranhas returned, this time with wings, in a 1981 sequel directed by James Cameron of Titanic fame.

In the remake, the toothy swimmers will infest Arizona’s Lake Havasu and munch on drunken spring breakers after an earthquake opens a rift in the lake floor. Aja told the trade that his goal is not to remake the original film, but to create something completely new while paying homage to the work of Dante and Cameron, and all the creature features that have inspired his career.