Hollywood is continuing its unrelenting push for everything old to become new again – even those not so old. While remakes have been around since the start of last century when A Wringing Good Joke (1899) got such treatment the following year, they have been coming thicker and faster with each passing decade.
Some are more obvious than others. Take Gus Van Sant’s 1998 version of Psycho for instance, which was a shot-for-shot replica of the original 1960 masterpiece from Alfred Hitchcock – and without an ounce of originality, it failed miserably.
Others put their own spin on an already great piece of work and made it even better. Take 2006′s The Departed, which saw Hollywood actually improve on a ‘foreign language’ classic, in this case Infernal Affairs from Hong Kong, thanks to director Martin Scorsese.
Personally, it’s certainly an interesting phase we’re entering with the movie remake, with many cult hits from the 1980s – the movies I grew up with – now about to be updated “for a new generation”.
Here’s a list of some remakes currently in the pipeline … Some may never see the light of day, and to be honest, most should probably just be flushed down the drain. But, there’s a few definitely gathering momentum. What do you think?
First seen as a pretty soft action television series which screened from 1983 to 1987. It’s the ongoing story of four Vietnam vets, “framed for a crime they didn’t commit”, who play the roles of Good Samaritans while on the run from the military. Starred George Peppard, Dwight Schultz, Dirk Bennedict and of course Mr T.
It’s just been reported this week that Liam Neeson (Taken, Clash of the Titans) is in fact in negotiations with 20th Century Fox to star as Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith. It comes a week after the now in-demand Bradley Cooper (The Hangover) was said to have signed on to star as Lt Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck.
Set to begin production this August with plans to release next June 2010, the new A-Team is apparently going to lose the camp and have more of a Ocean’s Eleven or even Mission: Impossible feel. So, there could actually be some deaths, something unheard of in the TV show, even after a helicopter had landed on someone.
It will probably end up like the failed Miama Vice film adaptation, starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. Having said that, I like the casting of Cooper as ‘Face’, but reckon Bruce Willis is tailor-made for the role of the leader, ‘Hannibal’, while reformed rapper Common has been mentioned as a possible ‘BA’, with Woody Harrelson perfect for zany ‘Murdock’.
Escape from New York
A cult classic from B-Grade master director John Carpenter (Halloween) about a former war hero turned criminal sent into New York, now a giant maximum security prison, to save a kidnapped President of the United States. Kurt Russell was ‘Snake’ Plissken, who everyone thought was dead but turned out to be very much alive.
The remake has been in a holding pattern ever since star Gerard Butler (300) pulled out of the project. Brett Rattner was an early frontrunner to direct, after Len Wiseman left the hot seat. New Line is said to have brought in Jonathan Mostowis to rewrite a script, with an option to direct.
To borrow a line from The Highlander, ‘There can be only one’. Only one Escape from New York, and only one ‘Snake’ Plissken, and that is Russell. It’s just not needed, especially if Butler remains on the outer. The Scot is one actor who could give Kurt some sort of a run for his money.
Russell himself doesn’t think so though, telling Entertainment Weekly back in 2007, “I will say that when I was told who was going to play ‘Snake’ Plissken, my initial reaction was ‘Oh, man!”. I do think that character was quintessentially one thing. And that is, American … I didn’t play ‘Snake’ Plissken, I created him! I am ‘Snake’ Plissken!”
Another cult hit from the ’80s, 1986 to be precise, about an immortal from the Highlands of Scotland (hence the name) who has lived for almost 500 years. Starring as Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod was the US-born Swiss-raised actor with the freaky German-French accent, Christopher Lambert. Sean Connery co-starred as a fellow immortal, along with Clancy Brown as the evil The Kurgan.
Summit Entertainment, which has acquired the rights, plans to reboot the entire franchise. It has hired Art Marcum and Matt Holloway (the pair behind massive hit Ironman) to write the script, which will again be based around a group of sword-wielding immortals battling for centuries for that mortal prize.
While Highlander spawned no less than five feature length sequels, including the first sequel from 1990, The Quickening (which somehow managed to lure Lambert and even Connery back), as well as a TV series, Patrick Wachsberger, Summit Entertainment’s co-chairman and president, said, “I have always dreamed of reinventing this franchise.”
If you gotta do it, why not give main part of Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod to an actual native of Scotland, with an actual Scottish accent … like Kevin McKidd (Dog Soldiers). The big guy deserves a big break on the big screen, not dressed in a white jacket and prancing about a TV show like Grey’s Anatomy.
First on the beat in 1987 and directed by Paul Verhoeven(Total Recall, Starship Troopers) and starring Peter Weller (Buckaroo Banzai) as the cop Murphy who is gruesomely murdered but comes back to ‘life’ as a bad-ass cyborg programmed to clean up the streets of crime-ridden Detroit.
The movie had a so-so sequel in 1990 and a pathetic third installment in 1993 (when Verhoeven and Weller would not return), but director Darren Aronofsky(The Fountain, The Wrestler) is apparently planning a total ‘reboot’ for the character, “a real reinventioned”, he told Empire late last year.
Aronofsky goes on to say, “me and David Self (that really should be David Self and I) are working on the screenplay. He’s a great, great writer and we’re trying to do something new and fresh.” Does anyone else get the feeling David ‘Self’ is in fact a split personality of Aronofsky? There has been no recent update on how that script is coming along however.
There’s been no casting news either, so let’s nominate Christian Bale, he’s linked to just about every action movie set to be made these days. Or is that Sam Worthington now? Bale though would love the challenge. He battles robots in Terminator Salvation, why not become one in RoboCop? With Aronofsky, the project could be in much worse hands.
First seen in 1976 starring Michael York in the futuristic adventure about a man who defies his dystopian society’s ruling that all must die at the age of 30 by … getting the hell out of there, hence the run. Based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, published in 1967. Spawned a brief television series.
Bryan Singer was on board to direct the remake in 2004, but opted out after he got his hands on Superman Returns. The Man of Steel after all could not only run faster than Logan, but also leap tall buildings in a single bound. Unknown director Joseph Kosinski (who is also making TRON 2.0) has since been hired by producer Joel Silver (The Matrix).
From reports the new film appears as though will follow the novel more closely by lowering the mandatory death age, ‘Lastday’, to the original 21. The book was much darker in tone than the very ’70s-esque film adaptation, with Logan’s love interest Jessica 6 being raped mid-way through. There were two sequels, Logan’s World and Logan’s Search … but the fourth book Logan’s Dementia never made it to print. Only kidding.
They already remade this film in 2005 under the guise of The Island and starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johannson. A few plot points were changed, but Logan’s Run was definitely an inspiration. They may as well cast McGregor and Johannson in the main roles again.
The original was the daddy of all vigilante flicks, starring veteran tough guy Charles Bronson as the loving husband and father who goes on a murderous rampage of revenge after his wife is killed and daughter is raped … by a young Jeff Goldblum.
Sylvester Stallone was thought to be trying to get a remake going he will direct and star in ever since he finished the latest Rocky and Rambo combination. He told The Guardian in 2007, “Instead of the Charles Bronson character being an architect; my version would have him as a very good cop who had incredible success without ever using his gun. So when the attack on his family happens, he’s really thrown into a moral dilemma in proceeding to carry out his revenge.”
The film spawned an amazing four sequels (1982, 1985, 1987 and 1995), all starring the legendary Bronson. And it just might end there with Stallone now seemingly cold on the project – wrapped up in his Expendables action extravaganza – and no word if anyone else is keen to jump on board.
The basic story has been done to ‘death’ anyway, with the recently released The Brave One, with Jodie Foster, showcasing some nice vigilante work. Though I’d be interested in seeing Stallone in action with the old Bronson ‘mo’.
The original, Conan The Barbarian (1982), was the epic tale of a child sold into slavery who grows into a man (mountain) who then seeks revenge against the warlord who massacred his tribe. A film adaptation of the popular comic book, it of course starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first genuine lead role – if you don’t count Hercules Goes Bananas (aka Hercules in New York) a decade earlier.
Chud.com has just this week reported director Marcus Nispell, who looks like he could star in it, was signed to helm the remake that has been a long time in development. Nispell has had recent experience with remakes, having been behind the new Friday the 13th, and takes over Conan hot seat from Brett Rattner (Rush Hour), who has been linked to the project for some time.
Before Millenium Filmd bought the rights to the film, Warner Bros. apparenyly “invested seven years of sweat”, with top-shelf names like Larry and Andy Wachowski, John Milius (who directed the original from a script he co-wrote with Oliver Stone) and Robert Rodriguez all writing drafts, Variety reporting in 2007. Boaz Yakin penned the last one.
Chud said we should be getting an announcement on just who is playing the Barbarian himself soon, though, and odds on it will be an unknown. Gerard Butler (300) is a favourite among fans. But, what about Roland Kickinger? Another body builder, and he has filled in for big Arnie before.
The original was the 2003 Korean masterpiece from director Chan-wook Park and starring Min-Sik Choi as Dae-Su Oh, a man who is locked up in a little room for 15 years and then after being suddenly released must find out why he was imprisoned and by who.
Variety reported last November that surprisingly Steven Spielberg and Will Smith were in early discussions about teaming up for the remake. It seems a very odd concept given the nature of the original film. Will Smith may be a Bad Boy but is he that bad?
(Spoiler) So bad that his lead character sleeps with his own daughter and then cuts off his own tongue, like in the Korean version. Me thinks not either. This is Spielberg after all. The closest he’s come to something that sick is dressing a little alien up in women’s clothing.
There’s been no recent word regarding the movement of the Spielberg-Smith remake, and let’s hope it stays that way. Just go and watch the original. It’s brilliant!
The original was a science-fiction thriller of the highest quality from 1973 and starring Richard Benjamin as a guy who visits a fictional high-tech adult amusement park with his friend only for its androids to go all ‘Maximum Overdrive’ on the guests asses. The real star is the Gunslinger, played by the late, great and bald Yul Brynner.
Arnold Schwarzeneggerwas lined up to star in the remake several years ago – if he hadn’t played a cyborg/android enough times in his career. That won’t be happening now, but the movie still might go ahead, with Billy Ray (State of Play, Flightplan) writing a new script. The original was written and directed by Michael Crichton.
SciFi.com spoke to Ray a couple of years ago before Crichton’s death in 2008 and said “My understanding is that he was offered the chance to do the first draft of this remake a few years ago, and his response was, ‘I already remade that movie; the remake was called Jurassic Park … In many ways, he was right.”
Though they should leave it alone … I’m sure it will eventually get made. I’ve seen the name Daniel Craig mentioned as a possible Gunslinger, which wouldn’t be a bad choice, and a nice breakaway from James Bond. Josh Brolin would be perfect in the Benjamin role. It would be like The Coen Brothers’ No Country For Old Men all over again, and his dad was in the original too.
David Lynch first adapted Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel from the 1960s about a futuristic intergalactic battle for a spice used for space travel in 1984 starring a host of … well, let’s be honest, B-Grade actors such as Kyle MacLachlan, Sean Young, Brad Dourif, Linda Hunt, Max Von Sydow, Jurgen Prochnow … and Sting. It looked impressive enough, but tanked with the complex story suffering badly. A TV mini-series earlier this decade, starring William Hurt, was better received.
Peter Berg (Hancock, Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom) is now in the hotseat, signing on over a year ago to direct another attempt to bring the epic to life. No casting news yet, but there’s been plenty of names being thrown around by fans, including Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer) as the young hero Paul Attreidis, while vampire ‘heart-throb Robert Pattinson (Twilight) sparked rumours he was up for role of the evil adversary Feyd Reutha, (played by Sting in the original) after he was seen leaving Berg’s house.
John Harrison, the director of the mini-series, is co-producing the new film for Paramount, and told ifmagazine.com late last year: “A terrific young writer, Josh Zetumer will adapt and I wish him all the best. It won’t be easy, I can tell you, but he has great ideas about how to approach this epic material and I’ll bet it comes off as a completely unique version of the Dune saga.” But, I’m sure that’s what David Lynch said.
Maybe a planned trilogy in the Lord of the Rings-style would be better for Dune’s fortunes, but of course, the first hurdle is getting bums on seats for the first one, and that could prove difficult.
The original was based on the Philip K. Dick novelette, We Can Remember it for you Wholesale from 1966. The 1990 blockbuster starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by Paul Verhoeven saw the lead character’s name changed from Quail to Quaid, but still focused on him being a man, who, haunted by visions of Mars, visits the Rekal centre for memory implantation. The movie also goes a bit further in that Arnie’s hero actually visits the Red Planet and plays out the fantasies … and says great lines like, “If I am not me, den who da hell am I?”
Variety reported just last week that Kurt Wimmer (the writer-director of Equilibrium, the under-rated futuristic actioner starring Christian Bale) has been hired by Columbia Pictures to write the script for the new take on Dick’s work.
Total Recall was one of the last major Hollywood blockbusters to make large-scale use of miniature effects, and at the same time, it was also one of the first to use CGI (mainly for the scenes involving the X-Ray scanner) and have it look “photo-real”.
Producer Neal H. Moritz was quoted by The Hollywood Reporter in February as saying the new film would be a contemporary version of Total Recall, that he hoped the advancements in technology and state-of-the-art visual effects can help tell the “Recall” story in a fresh way. I personally think it still holds up well today, two decades on, deeming a remake unnecessary. If they are going to do anything maybe a sequel would be better, one with go-to-guy Gerard Butler.
>>> Stay tuned people for more news on these and other remakes seeping their way into a theatre near you.