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November 8, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | November 8, 2007 |

Good morning, Sports Racers. It’s the middle of a long week at the beginning of a long month at the end of the long year, and I’m hopped up on the kind of where-the-hell-is-this going energy that’s running through the streets of L.A. like the girls from “The Hills,” all wide-eyed and crazy and unwilling to compromise. And man oh man, get ready to get hammered, because today’s lead-off item is all about a remake, and you better believe I got me some bemoaning to do.

(Those of you wishing to bypass the round-up and skip right down to the comments for some good old-fashioned Internet bitchfests high-minded debate should feel free to do so. Today’s discussion question: Is misogyny retarded? Why or why not?)

Fox is continuing with its plans to remake Robert Wise’s 1951 sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Keanu Reeves will lead the cast. Reeves, whose lobbying to retitle the film The Day the Earth Went Whoa will probably go ignored, will play the alien Klaatu. Jennifer Connelly is also attached to play Helen, the spunky scientist who makes first contact with Klaatu. When all this news came to me, I was tempted to say or write something like, “In a move that passes all understanding, Fox has blah blah blah,” and then I would kvetch for a while. But I can’t write that because the remake isn’t beyond all understanding; just the opposite. It’s completely understandable. Remakes are easier to pitch, quicker to greenlight, and more comfortable for the people signing the checks to make everything happen. You can see the poster, you know? And it’s a shame, too. I remember seeing the movie as a child, and it’s a classic. Sure, it wasn’t always fun being the only 11-year-old that knew the heartbreaking resolution of “Klaatu barada nikto,” but that’s beside the point. The film stands out as a hallmark of its genre, and that makes it the perfect target to be soullessly repackaged 50 years later.

Speaking of classics that should never be remade but will be anyway, just to bug me: The remake rights to 1952’s High Noon were picked up this week at the American Film Market by producer Mark Headley, actor Christopher Mitchum, and their business partner, Toni Covington. Headley and the newly formed High Noon Productions, based in L.A., are in the process of finding a director and star for the remake, and hope to start shooting next year. Christopher Mitchum is the son of Robert Mitchum, and said at AFM that he’d wanted to remake High Noon for years. But you know what, Chris? Nobody else wanted that. I’m weary of wearing out the word “classic,” but that’s exactly what High Noon is, and there’s absolutely no reason for a remake. It cannot be better, and will only be disappointing.

Also this week, the latest casting news for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is that Bruce Greenwood has been tapped to play Christopher Pike, the Enterprise’s first captain. Pike was the captain in the series’ original pilot but was dropped when CBS rejected the show and NBC expressed interest but wanted it retooled. He was later woven into the show’s chronology once Captain Kirk took over, which is something else I probably shouldn’t have known when I was 11. The thing is, Abrams the writer is on strike, but Abrams the director isn’t, and the film is still on track for release next Christmas from Paramount. Abrams has said he won’t do any rewriting duty on the film while it’s in production, but it’s hard to imagine a director like Abrams (or any director, for that matter) proceeding with a film when they won’t be able to do any rewrites, even if they want to. It’s just one of the many things the strike will affect, and there’s no telling how this will shape up. You can keep up with the strike here, if you’re interested.

Finally, this morning’s trailer watch features the clip for The Great Debaters, based on real events in 1930s Texas about a black collegiate debate team. The film gains credibility for having Denzel Washington star and direct, but loses points big time for being produced by Oprah Winfrey, who should stick to peddling The Secret and stay away from movies. Anyway, it’s a blatant Oscar contender, but it could turn out OK:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

Klaatu. Barada. Pajiba!

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Industry | November 8, 2007 |

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