All of Hollywood was abuzz recently over the news that Universal had selected Pablo Larrain to helm their long-planned redo of Scarface. Larrain seems like a great choice, but even though his film No was an Oscar nominee, he’s still a bit on the obscure side for a major studio tent pole. You’d have to be a little hardcore about either Chilean politics or world cinema to think of Larrain. But maybe we underestimate executives who might have pretty diverse Netflix accounts.
Whatever the case, there’s a whole sea of 80’s remakes being planned. Why not give them over to lesser-known foreign-language filmmakers with vision? We cherry-picked some of the most anticipated 80’s remakes currently in active development in Hollywood and decided to hand them over to the best and brightest on the global cinema stage. Our first preference is to not remake these movies, but we know they’re all gonna happen eventually. So take some chances, Hollywood. Who knows where you might end up?
HighlanderWhat Is It? Connor MacLeod has fought through the ages to become the last standing immortal. Also, maybe he’s from Zeist?
Where Is It? Summit has been developing this property for years, with directors like Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and Justin Lin attached to direct. Last year the studio opted for first-timer Cedric Nicolas-Troyan as a director, but by then leading man Ryan Reynolds had bolted, and the Art Marcum/Matt Holloway script had been gathering cobwebs.
Give It To… Pablo Trapero! The Argentine filmmaker specializes in making films about middle to lower class people pushed beyond their means, forced into difficult positions. He also specializes in slick suspense sequences that go from relaxed to super intense within seconds, a gift that would benefit a franchise-starter about basically-immortal characters that could (and once did!) get very boring very quickly. Check out the trailer for Carancho below.
The Toxic AvengerWhat Is It? A mild-mannered nerd falls into toxic waste and becomes a hulking super powered hero.
Where Is It? Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine 2) was the latest to take a crack at the script, and apparently none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger was in talks for a role, possibly as a villain. However, that update was almost a year ago, and Schwarzenegger is plenty busy lately.
Give It To… Sion Sono! The prolific Japanese filmmaker is absolutely nuts, a pro at mixing the highest and lowest brows. He would make a movie that not only honored Troma’s flagship character, but also stood on its own as the ultimate nerd wish fulfillment. Check out the trailer to his absolutely insane four and a half hour epic Love Exposure below.
Weird ScienceWhat Is It? Two undersexed nerds combine their computer skills to design the perfect woman, an experiment that goes completely haywire.
Where Is It? Michael Bacall (21 Jump Street) is reportedly writing an R-rated redo of the original.
Give It To… Jannicke Systad Jacobsen! The Nordic filmmaker burst upon the scene with 2011’s Turn Me On, Dammit!. That film showed she had a refreshing, and downright revolutionary outlook on teenage female sexuality, with a charming protagonist who longs for male sexual attention but has no idea whatsoever how to manage it. Why not do a remake with two females trying, and failing, to create the perfect male?
BloodsportWhat Is It? A canny fighter enters the Kumite, the most vicious martial arts competition in the world.
Where Is It? Currently, James McTiegue is directing a script penned by Phillip Noyce (Salt) and Robert Mark Kamen (Taken). However, after The Raven it’s unclear if Relativity feels McTiegue is worth the gamble.
Give It To… Wei Te-Sheng! Though he hails from Taiwan, this Chinese filmmaker is waiting for his shot at the big time. It should have been Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale: this John Woo-produced actioner, running a breathless four and a half hours, tells the epic true story of the Seediq people who waged war against the invading Japanese in the mid-twentieth century. Catch the trailer below.
CommandoWhat Is It? Retired soldier John Matrix is roped into a revenge mission by an exiled dictator.
Where Is It? David Ayer had written a script years ago with the intention to direct, but since then it’s been almost three years of silence.
Give It To… Tobias Lindholm! The Danish screenwriter has had great success with the TV series Borgen, and last year the world got to see his directorial debut, the enormously tense A Hijacking. Look, the original Commando is a joke of a film, a wonderful greatest hits reel of the great Arnold Schwarzenegger absolutely dismantling fools with his trademark quips and comical musculature. To repeat that formula seems like folly: why not take the material in the other direction and actually make a suspense film, and not just a movie where we’re rooting for the heroic superman to annihilate an entire country of bad guys?
Escape From New YorkWhat Is It? Lone wolf mercenary Snake Plissken is called in to a post-apocalyptic New York to save the kidnapped President.
Where Is It? This remake has been bandied about for years by producer Joel Silver, who claims that the script is not ready, but that he sees it as a trilogy.
Give It To… Olivier Assayas! The former film critic has become one of the world’s classiest and coolest punk rock directors, endlessly reinventing and challenging himself. The scope of his films is often massive, like the Carlos miniseries he shot a couple of years back that can now be found in the Criterion Collection. But Assayas can also work with a more intimate scope, and what people need to learn about Escape From New York is that it can be frenetic and action-packed, but it needs to be intimate, claustrophobic, with fear not of massive or explosions, but of dangerous one-on-one accounts, Much like Assayas’ Boarding Gate, seen below.
All Of MeWhat Is It? A woman accidentally possesses the body of her attorney and the two of them fight for control.
Where Is It? As of late 2012, the project was being written by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (The Vow), with the main hook being a gender switch to a man getting stuck in a female‘s body. Earlier, it was set up as a starring vehicle for Queen Latifah, but as of now that seems unlikely.
Give It To… Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson! The duo were behind one of the most deliriously entertaining foreign films of the last few years, the madcap musical Sound Of Noise. That film, which you can peek at below, saw a group of musical anarchists terrorizing a city with an onslaught of percussion-themed musical performances in public places. You could see how the musicality in their action direction and framing of shots would be an ideal match for a silly physical comedy.
The Monster SquadWhat Is It? A group of horror-loving kids must defend their small town against the combined forces of classic movie monsters.
Where Is It? Rob Cohen (The Fast And The Furious), who produced the original, may jump into the director‘s chair for this, but as of two years ago he’s said there’s no movement on the studio’s part.
Give It To… Apichatpong Weerasethakul! No, really! The Thai dreamscape director has openly discussed being raised on 80’s genre films, and you’d love to see his hallucinatory vision of what the classic Universal monsters would look like. The Monster Squad, at heart, is about folklore, and the director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives certainly knows a thing or two about that.
The Naked GunWhat Is It? Lieutenant Frank Drebin is the toughest, and maybe dumbest, cop currently on the force.
Where Is It? As of last year, Ed Helms was tabbed to be the new Drebin for writers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (A Night At The Museum, Reno 911.
Give It To… Thomas Cappelen Malling! This Norwegian satirist has built his career off the back of disgraced politician Arne Treholt, who was convicted of espionage and accused of spying for the Soviets. Malling wrote and directed Norwegian Ninja, which re-imagines Treholt as not only a secret savior to the cause of Norway, but also the leader of a band of covert ninjas preserving Norway’s independence. If you watch the trailer below and don’t immediately want Malling to make all the movies from now on, I don’t know what to tell you, man.
VideodromeWhat Is It? Sleazy cable producer Max Renn finds himself falling down a dark hole as he learns the truth about a rogue television signal called Videodrome.
Where Is It? In 2012, Universal hired rookie director Adam Berg to helm the Ehren Kruger (The Ring) script, but assigning a long-in-development remake to a first-timer is just the movie version of befriending someone on Facebook that you’ve casually dated, and it’s been deadly quiet since.
Give It To… Gaspar Noe! The French filmmaker is straight-up gonzo, and seeing his sensibilities let loose in the world of Cronenberg would necessitate therapy the whole world around. If you haven’t seen his Enter The Void on the biggest screen possible, then you’re not experiencing cinema to the fullest.