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What does matter to me is whether or not she seems right for this part, and she clearly doesn't. Marion should be sexy and alluring, and while Janet Leigh didn't fit my usual type, she definitely had an aura that made her believable. Anyway, my point is simply that Marion's supposed to be very sexy and desirable, and while Heche isn't ugly, she lacks any kind of real spark in that regard. In the original Psycho, Marion's officemate Caroline (played by Hitchcock's daughter Pat) existed as something of a contrast to her; while Pat was not bad-looking, she certainly was plain, and that heightened Leigh's glamour-girl looks.
Heche, on the other hand, is almost androgynous and sexless. I imagine that she should be toiling away in Santa's Workshop, waiting for the next opportunity to sing "Holly Jolly Christmas"! This contrast is comically featured when Caroline mentions that a visiting VIP flirted with Marion and implies that he didn't seem to notice her because he must have noticed her wedding ring.
Normal remakes don't try to perfectly duplicate the originals.
Actually, despite public perception, this version of Psycho isn't an absolute shot-by-shot replication, though it's not far from the mark.
As such, she simply seems to nutty and silly as Marion.
She lacks the haunted, somber quality of Leigh and makes Marion seem like much less of an interesting, unique character. By "conventional" I mean that he bases his performance much more on how we commonly think that a nutbag like Bates should behave.
What I mean is that while just about nobody went to see Van Sant's movie, its release and the concordant hubbub certainly renewed interest in Hitchcock's original.
This wasn't an adaptation of the first movie; it was a scene-by-scene reshoot! " On this DVD, Van Sant mentions his intentions, and they're actually fairly honorable.Ironically, despite Van Sant's best efforts to duplicate the original film, his actors consistently undermine this attempt by almost uniformly altering the characters.