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Depending on your perspective, remakes are a tricky business. Either you understand how they can blow the dust off of a dated property and repurpose it for a new audience, or you are diametrically opposed to the concept, because the original material was fine enough. We were surprised when we sat down across from Sam Elliott at the press junket for A Star Is Born, because he made it clear up front that he's NOT okay with remakes. In general, he's opposed to the idea of them. (Someone must have tipped him off to the news of a Roadhouse remake... terrible idea, Hollywood!) But Elliott opened up as to why this remake of A Star Is Born works, explaining to CinemaBlend:
This story is a classic tale. And it holds up in its telling. There's a generation of people, or maybe two, who have never seen A Star Is Born, any of them. Any of the previous three. And it's... there's just so much in this. There's so much humanity in this thing. It's such a human tale. The whole addiction thing. The whole love-and-loss thing. The whole career thing. The pitfalls along the way. And the music! I mean, the music... the music is another character in this piece.
I know that some of you might read Sam Elliott's comments and think, "Well, what else is he going to say? He's promoting a remake!" But when we started the conversation about the industry's penchant for remaking anything from the past that is a household name, Elliott certainly didn't hold back, critiquing those decisions as strictly monetary, and standing in the way of creativity. Elliott confessed:
A lot of them have been remade where I've gone, 'Really? Again?' You know, c'mon. I think those that I talk about are the ones where they're making them clearly to make money off of them. As a franchise. Which I don't really get. I understand them on some levels, but I don't get them, from an actor's perspective.
Sam Elliott can speak with conviction because the remake that he's part of improves in virtually every aspect of the previous versions of A Star is Born, benefitting from the brilliant casting of Lady Gaga in the lead role, and the commanding control shown by Bradley Cooper as a first-time director. Sam Elliott plays Cooper's manager, a steady hand for an artist who's tumbling along in an alcoholic haze. He plays an important part in the narrative. Here's Elliott on remakes: