Re-Animated: If Dreams Came True

[Editor’s note: Re-Animated is a new column devoted to remakes, some movies we’d like to see and some we wish Hollywood would leave to rest in peace.]

In the world today it seems that very few people are coming up with new ideas for movies. Which is fine, there is an end point to all creative endeavors. So what do we do? We pick ourselves up, dust off some of our old favorites, and remake them with our newfangled CGI and color film and lady directors. Woohoo! Wait, wait, something horrible just happened. We chose all the wrong movies to remake. Like a bad techno cover of a beloved 80’s dance album, these terrible remakes keep on coming and fewer people even bother seeing the original. Now we’re even remaking startlingly recent films so that we don’t have to know how to read to see a movie (e.g. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Let The Right One In) But what about movies that need to be remade? There is a wonderful, beautiful, and much undernoted wealth of movies that could use a little modern charm. Let us start with an example.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, the 1961 film based off of Truman Capote’s heartbreaking novel , was a hit when it first arrived on the scene. Directed by Blake Edwards and starring, of course, Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, this movie is still a favorite among the young, hip, skinny youth. But they made a lot of concessions when writing the screenplay. They had to change the story around quite a bit to fit the 1961 film audiences perception of moral rightness. Today, though, you could totally get away with a lot of what the book had to offer. The unnamed and very gay narrator could maintain those traits, and you could do away with the whole happy ending kissing while smashing a cat thing. The damp, heavy, bright, sordid colors and details of the novel wouldn’t have to be washed away in pastel. In contrast,  you could NOT get away with the horrendously racist Mickey Rooney-in-yellow-face theme and would have to cast a real live Asian in the role (unless M. Night got a hold of it, in which case maybe Rooney could make a comeback…) Plus, you could let Holly be a weed-smoking, swearing prostitute who has an abortion.

Truman Capote had been envisioning Marilyn Monroe for the part of Holly Golightly and was a very hard sell (even after the movie was an Oscar-winning cash cow) on Audrey Hepburn. So how about someone like Amanda Seyfried? And as for our lovely “Fred”, I see a cleaned up Aaron Eckhart or even Joseph Gordan-Levitt. Even though I usually dislike her, I think Sarah Jessica Parker would make a pretty fun 2-E, and how about Robin Williams as Doc? Ha! And who in their right mind would direct a thing like this? Well, in my perfect little world it would be Wes Anderson. I think he’s got the grace to pull it off. And I think that his inevitable dialogue additions would actually fit pretty well with original cadence of the short story. Plus wouldn’t it be fun to see him play with sets and clothes from the 40’s? Yeah, you’re thinking about it, you’re liking it.

So there it is. Now, where are my giant piles of money to pull this thing off? We’re on a deadline people.

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5 responses to “Re-Animated: If Dreams Came True

  1. Remakes of recent foreign films is nothing new. Sometimes the same director will do it (The Vanishing) and sometimes it happens so fast people don’t even know it was a remake (Brothers, True Lies, No Reservations, Criminal, Point of No Return, Vanilla Sky, Quarantine).

    But yes, there are many a film other than 80’s horror (or every movie from the 80’s) that could stand a good remake.

  2. It’s just odd to me that we are remaking foreign films that have seen success in the US, you know? We seem to have an opportunity to finally bridge that gap and stop having to remake movies for the American audience, and Hollywood is spending money not to. Which is odd.

    • I totally agree. If The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an insanely popular book, why would the same audience have problems reading subtitles? It seems like the perfect time to admit Americans can read and enjoy things that don’t have Daniel Craig in them.

  3. I think they see a distinction between success and blockbuster. For being foreign small release films, Dragon Tattoo and Let the Right One In have been successful. But they could be huge if remade.

    You’d think we’d be past this, but us obsessive movie people are the exception to the rule and most everyone else does not like subtitles. I still find people that can’t stand B&W. And others that don’t mind watching improper aspect ratios.

    • I hate that the movie makers are willing to throw the actual fans under the bus. Blockbusters inevitably involve a dumbing-down because you have to appeal to a larger audience than the original. Books like The Girl with… have just as rabid a following as Eat Pray Love, and look how that turned out: the original fans didn’t like it, and the new movie-goers didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

      Hmmm. Maybe Hollywood should keep remaking the same twelve movies again and again. Leave my books alone!

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