Film, List, Opinion

5 REMAKES IN THE WORKS

The lowdown on five Hollywood remakes that could be coming your way…

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Hollywood isn’t really a place for original concepts anymore – pretty much any big moneymaker is a remake, reboot or a re-imagining of some description. This can come across as anything from greedy to pointless, and it can really make us cinema-goers quite cynical, but that’s a whole other can of worms. The fact is, there are so many remakes being talked about all the time that it’s hard to know which ones will even see the light of day (getting a movie onto the big screen is a very long and complicated process), but here are five remakes which are in development that you might not know about…

IT: 

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Is it happening?: Good question – the It remake was announced way back in 2009, and it has been a rocky road ever since. The project began life at Warner Bros before being moved over to subsidiary company New Line. Headway seemed to be being made when Cary Fukunaga, the man behind the critically acclaimed first season of True Detective (2014) signed on to direct and the surprising decision to cast young British actor Will Poulter in the iconic role of Pennywise the clown – made famous by Tim Curry – was made. The film was firmly in pre-production, with Fukunaga working on a script alongside Chase Palmer, but was dropped into development hell again when Fukanaga pulled out last year citing studio tampering. Mama (2013) director Andy Muschietti has since been attached to a project, and a new script is reportedly in the works, but it is unclear if or when the film will see the light of day.

Will it be good?: Stephen King adaptions tend to be a bit of a mixed bag – for every The Shining (1980) you’ve got a Bag of Bones (2011) – so this one could go either way. Such a troubled pre-production could have a knock on impact on the final product, and it is hard to predict how it will turn out until the major players are fully confirmed. That said, Poulter has proven his credibility in a range of genres from comedy in We’re the Millers (2013) to drama in The Revenant (2016), so there is no reason that he can’t pull off Pennywise in spite of the inevitable endless comparisons to Curry’s performance.

THE BIRDS:

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Is it happening?: A remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds has been in talks for years, but developments last year suggest that it might finally be happening. Screencrush reported that Michael Bay is set to produce the film via his production company Platinum Dunes, whilst Dutch director Diederick Van Roojen is currently attached to direct. Platinum Dunes will produce the film with Mandalay and Universal. Whilst this seems like real moves towards the film finally getting made, there is still a long way to go – back in 2007 Naomi Watts was in talks to star with Martin Campbell of Casino Royale (2006) fame in the directors chair, but by 2009 the project had stalled.

Will it be good?: Bay’s production company has been behind numerous horror remakes over the years, from The Amityville Horror to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it would seem that even Hitchcock’s classics aren’t safe. Many horror fans consider The Birds untouchable, and the decision to remake it is one that is unlikely to go down well. Pair this with the fact that it would be being produced by the guy who is responsible for the Transformers franchise and who has a penchant for blowing things up in his movies, and the chances of the remake being any good are decidedly low. On the plus side, Bay isn’t in the directors chair, and Van Roojen may surprise us all by not allowing him to stamp his identity all over the place, but it is probably for the best if this particular remake remains deep in development hell.

CHARLIE’S ANGELS:

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Is it happening?: It certainly looks like it – details are still pretty thin on the ground, but last September The Guardian reported that Elizabeth Banks has signed on to produce and direct a Charlie’s Angels reboot based on the original 1970’s TV series starring Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. Banks is also set to produce the film alongside her husband and production partner Max Handelman, whilst Evan Spiliotopoulos is said to be writing the script, suggesting that the pieces are slowly falling together to make this remake a real possibility.

Will it be good?: There’s every chance it could be. Banks is a hot property in Hollywood right now, making her directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2 to Box Office success last summer, as well as acting in The Lego Movie (2014) and The Hunger Games franchise (2012-15). The original series was based on three women who face institutional sexism in the police force and go to work for the titular Charlie where their skills are put to better use, a premise that still (depressingly) holds real credence. The  Charlie’s Angels film in 2000 starring Lucy Lui, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore was successful enough to spawn a sequel in 2003, proving the the concept also has financial potential. Writer Spiliotopoulos is mostly known for penning a vast array of Disney’s DOV sequels, but he also has credits on the upcoming The Huntsman Winter’s War and the live action Beauty and the Beast, so there’s no reason he can’t pull it off.

A STAR IS BORN:

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Is it happening?: It’s still early days, but it looks like it. The idea for a THIRD remake of the original 1937 film of the same name has been in the pipeline since 2011, when it was reported that Clint Eastwood was set to direct with Beyonce Knowles as the female lead previously played by Janet Ganor, Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. Negotiations with Beyonce fell through in 2012 and it looked like the project was being put on the back-burner by Warner Bros until last year when it was announced that Bradley Cooper is interested in the project as his directorial debut. As it stands, Cooper has quashed any Beyonce related rumours and looks set to direct, star and co-produce the film.

Will it be good?: It has potential. Cooper is one of Hollywood’s most sought after leading men, so whilst it is almost a given that he will be great in front of the camera, it will be interesting to see what he can achieve in the director’s chair. A strong female lead is an absolute must – will he perhaps try to entice his frequent co-star and friend Jennifer Lawrence into the role? Other than that, it’s hard to know at such an early stage with so few details – will the film be a period or contemporary piece? The story – about a woman who becomes famous as her lover’s career flounders – is universal and could be applied to the modern generation in an interesting way given the right script.

THE CRAFT: 

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Is it happening?: It certainly is. Sony announced plans last year to remake 1996 cult classic The Craft with Leigh Janiak writing and directing. Doug Wick, one of the producers of the original, is on board to co-produce alongside Lucy Fisher, and whilst a cast has yet to be announced the ball seems to be well and truly rolling on the project.

Will it be good?: Again, information is still hard to come by at this stage, but all the indicators point towards the film being in safe hands with Janiak, who is a rising star in the horror genre after her directorial debut Honeymoon in 2014. The female centric original was a supernatural teen film with endless cult appeal, and it seems only right that a rising female director take the helm on the remake. On the downside, it is only ten years since the original came out, and there are a lot of questions about the need for a remake so quickly, if at all.

What remakes are you worried or excited about? Let me know in the comments section:

 

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Film, Opinion

THE BOND RELIC – 007’S TREATMENT OF WOMEN:

Shirly Eaton (Jill Masterson) - Goldfinger

Shirly Eaton (Jill Masterson) – Goldfinger

Last week I enjoyed a night out at the IMAX with friends to see the latest Bond flick, Spectre. I can’t say I had overly high expectations – I was more interested in the IMAX aspect – as I never watched Bond films as a child and thus do not hold the nostalgic view of the franchise many do. It is perhaps this that fuels my opinion of the franchise as increasingly outdated.

This is ironic given that a prominent theme in Spectre is how the 007 programme fits into modern society. Whilst the film may be content to show us via massive explosions that Bond still matters, I didn’t find myself convinced.

Ultimately, Bond is a relic of the Cold War. The source material – beloved as it may be – is a reflection of its time, when paranoia and tensions were at an all time high. That era is no more, and whilst it can be fun to toy with nostalgia – Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E earlier this year for instance – I would argue the past is best left in the past.

That said, 2012’s Skyfall felt like a ray of hope for the franchise, providing an example of how classic Bond favourites such as Q and Moneypenny could be brought into the 21st century. Yet fast-forward to Spectre and it feels like a case of one step forward, three back.

The main issue however is the franchises continued portrayal of women as disposable sex objects. The ‘Bond girl’ is an iconic element of the franchise which appears to resist any real form of progress. Whilst previous Daniel Craig incarnations, notable Skyfall and 2006’s Casino Royale, have at least attempted to deviate from the status quo, I can’t shake the feeling that the writers feel that since they have empowered Moneypenny as capable and not romantically interested in Bond they are free to carry on the tired trope elsewhere.

Spectre is particularly guilty in this respect. The amount of discussion over the casting of 50 year old Monica Bellucci as the ‘oldest ever’ Bond girl highlights the issue straight away. Bellucci is only three years older than Craig, whilst the main female role is held by Lea Seydoux who, at 30, is 17 years Craig’s junior. It was only Bellucci’s casting that was considered surprising, and this is purely based on age. Bond girls have very rarely been age counterparts to Bond, usually averaging out at at least a decade younger.

The part Bellucci plays in Spectre is even more concerning. Clocking in at barely more than a cameo, we essentially see Bond save her, undress her, get the information he requires to drive the plot along before leaving her in danger with a throwaway line about how an Embassy official will save her. They don’t even bother to tie up the loose thread because, post-rendezvous, she’s irrelevant.

Spectre's Monica Bellucci (Lucia Sciarra), Lea Seydoux (Madeline Swann) and Naome Harris (Eve Moneypenny)

Spectre’s Monica Bellucci (Lucia Sciarra), Lea Seydoux (Madeline Swann) and Naome Harris (Eve Moneypenny)

This all occurs before we are introduced to Seydoux’s Madeline Swann. Beginning with such promise, we first meet Swann as an intelligent, self assured doctor who spurns 007’s advances before he has the chance to make any. Swann does not need Bond to look after her – she knows her way around a gun – and it seems we have progress. Five minutes later (a few days at most in relation to the timeline) and the seemingly rational Swann declares her love for him. Already ridiculous, this is made worse by the utter lack of any build up or chemistry between the pair. It’s all downhill from there and before long Swann has been reduced to little more than a typical damsel in distress.

Granted, the representation and in particular the sexualisation of women in film is a problem that is not confined to the 007 franchise, but it seems sometimes as though Bond skims over criticism by using its claims to nostalgia and the source material. If the franchise could have the excellent Judi Dench as top dog M for so many years, they could surely work harder to counteract this treatment of women in other areas of the films. There is nothing wrong with Bond being a womaniser, but don’t have these female characters being defined only by his character trait.

On that note, here is an amusing video of a feminist Bond girl, enjoy!:

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