Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harvey, phone home

They've passed a new law. I don't know if you've heard yet, but no new material can be developed, filmed or made in Hollywood, under penalty of dire consequences (like being accused of having a brain or an original thought or thinking, horrors!, something different than everyone else).

Okay, so the law hasn't actually passed. But you'd never know. It's gotten so they don't even bother mentioning that the idea's recycled (you'd think they'd at least want credit for being eco-conscious). To wit, next year we'll see Keira Knightley helming Never Let Me Go, a movie about an isolated and idyllic boarding school that turns out to be breeding donor clones rather than raising British children.

If this sounds a bit familiar, perhaps that's because four years ago, we saw a small movie called The Island directed with typical delicate subtlety by Michael Bay. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, glowing and gleaming in an idyllic and isolated community, eventually race to escape, still glowing and gleaming, upon discovering they are, aha!, nothing more than organ donors for the rich and reckless.

Granted, Never Let Me Go comes with a far more distinguished literary pedigree — it is based on a novel by the author of "The Remains of the Day," Kazuo Ishiguro. Still.

Why do I bring this up? Because Mr. Steven Spielberg himself is jumping on the remake bandwagon. Why I'm surprised by this, considering that he broke the 11th commandment and made a fourth sequel in the Indy franchise, I don't know. One lives in hope. At least I am able to report that Spielberg is not remaking anything from the last decade. Thank heavens for small favors.

Instead he is going back to the 1950s to "update" Harvey, a movie based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play and written by its original award-winning playwright, Mary Chase. The 1950 movie starred an invisible 6 1/2 foot tall rabbit alongside Jimmy Stewart in an Academy Award nominated performance for best actor. If you haven't seen it, do so. As for the "update?" It's being written by first-time screen writer, Jonathan Tropper. Who hasn't won a Pulitzer Prize.

Having said all that, it makes perfect sense that they are remaking Total Recall. Because we probably forgot the first one. Hey, I can't make this stuff up.

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