You might not remember this, but way, way back in the day — and not too long after “Garden State” hit it big — Zach Braff had an ambitious plan to do a remake of Susanne Bier‘s grim drama “Open Hearts.” The story follows an engaged couple who deal with the aftermath of a car crash that leaves the man paralyzed from the waist down, and to make matters more complicated, the woman falls in love with the husband of the person who caused the accident. Fun times! Braff said he was drawn to the material because it managed to be about “lust, love, loneliness and so many things and dealt with them in a way an American movie typically wouldn’t.” And while that film obviously never happened, we’ll always be left wondering what could have been because the actor/director reveals he had some top-shelf talent lined up for it.
Talking with Movieline he says, “‘Open Hearts’ came together at Paramount. It was all going. We had Sean Penn, who was going to star in it. It fell apart at the last second. We actually had a production office open at Paramount and everything. It fell apart at the last second due to scheduling and budget, as so many movies do.”
And while that incarnation is dead, the project is still alive. “I’ve personally paid the option on it every year, like rent. I’d love to make it. I have a beautiful adaptation of it,” Braff said adding, “I’d just direct it. I’d love to make it one day. I have it on my shelf.” But considering the projects he’s already got lined up, don’t expect it anytime soon.
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If anything, this should give you an excuse to least track down Bier’s film and check it out, and then decide if Braff should attempt to remake it. We have to say, with Sean Penn in the lead, we definitely would’ve been curious. Check out the trailer for “Open Hearts” below.