Warner Brothers announced their plans to remake the 1992 Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston film “The Bodyguard” and are reteaming with the writers of the Black List approved script, “Family Getaway,” which they bought last fall. Deadline broke the news that writers Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer have been tapped to reboot the love story of the bodyguard and the diva, this time updating the material to reflect the distinctly 2000s brand of celebrity fandom and technology (TMZ, Twitter), and including Iraq combat experience for the bodyguard. Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote a number of ’80s classics (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Big Chill“) wrote the original ‘Bodyguard’ (actually his first screenplay) as a vehicle for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross in the ’70s.
The early ’90s cultural touchstone had a long journey to the screen and went through many pairings of stars, starting with the aforementioned McQueen and Ross, who didn’t get along, to Ryan O’Neal, who also didn’t see eye to eye with Ross, and had a number of female singers including Madonna, Pat Benatar, Olivia Newton-John, Joan Jett, Debbie Harry, Terri Nunn and Kim Carnes in the mix at various points, before hitting on the combination of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The film didn’t receive great critical praise at the time but did well at the box office, landing in the top 10 highest grossing films of 1992. And who could forget the early ’90s ear worm and Houston signature song “I Will Always Love You”? It will be interesting to see what singer they decide on for the diva. Beyonce seems an almost-too-obvious choice but she’s already attached to the remake of “A Star is Born” that will shoot this fall.
We’ve read a draft of Friedman and Palmer’s Black List Script “Family Getaway” which was rather mislabeled by the trades as “Jason Bourne meets ‘Little Miss Sunshine‘” when it was snapped up by Warners last September. It’s about the least likely assassin (think Seth Rogen doing his best Jason Bourne, not “Green Hornet” style, more “Pineapple Express“) taking his parents and brother on the lam to escape some vengeful organized crime thugs. It’s more like “Grosse Point Blank” in a van, with two of the funniest and most endearing parent characters we’ve read in awhile. The family relationship is the heart of this script and the source of the best laughs, and it makes for a fresh take on the action comedy genre. Their sensibilities should lend well to “The Bodyguard,” which needs the mix of romance and action to balance just right. They have yet to have a screenplay produced, but “Family Getaway” is moving forward at Warners and received a lot of attention after hitting the Black List and the Hit List.