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If you’re like MGM, you’ll agree that cinema just doesn’t have enough remakes of thinly veiled biopics that aren’t biopics. In that respect, you should be happy to know that their upcoming update of 1980’s The Idolmaker has landed a director with his own history of music-infused filmmaking. Footloose director Craig Brewer will stand at the helm for an all-star trio of producers: Justin Timberlake, Hawk Koch, who produced the original, and Rocky producer Gene Kirkwood. (Fun fact: Kirkwood also produced the remake-defying UHF!)
Even though it isn’t clear in Variety’s story in what capacity this remake is coming, Brewer is a strong choice for the job. He bumped a lot of car trunks with his 2005 breakout drama Hustle and Flow - a film that is infinitely rewatchable to me for some reason - and followed that up with the bluesy Southern drama Black Snake Moan, which secreted fluids from all of its glands (and also featured Timberlake in a supporting role). Then came the essentially needless Footloose remake, which wasn’t nearly as offensive as it seemed when it was first announced, but possibly took his time away from a more exciting film. I’m not sure that this is that film, but I’m all the more comfortable with it with him directing.
The original was the feature debut from Ray director Taylor Hackford, and was a fictionalized account of the successes boosting music producer Bob Marcucci to stardom in the 1950s and 1960s. While Marcucci discovered Frankie Avalon and Fabian, Ray Sharkey starred as Vincent Vacari, the man who turned Tommy Dee (Paul Land) and Guido (Peter Gallagher) into national treasures. Somehow I doubt the modern version of The Idolmaker will center on the same kind of music, and Timberlake’s involvement is a sign that the story’s influences are based on more modern tastes. I’ll take "Sexy Back" over Fabian any day.
Last year, Brewer was attached to Gangster Princess of Beverly Hills, a feature take on the life of Lisette Lee, the drug mule who posed as an heiress to the Samsung fortune. I’m not sure where that movie is as far as development goes, but that sounds like a more interesting direction for Brewer to take his career, but I’m willing to give The Idolmaker a shot if it boasts some killer original music. Let’s not forget what won Best Original Song at the 78th Academy Awards.
This remake is part of MGM’s You’ve Seen It All Before line-up that came about after the studio’s bankruptcy problems in 2010. That’s why last month’s RoboCop happened, and it’s also why we’ll be seeing that Poltergeist remake next year. Let’s all sing a song about it.