Given that it was just a couple of weeks ago that the $125 million remake of “Total Recall” opened to only a few million dollars more than what Paul Verhoeven‘s original made in 1990, one would have thought that studios might be shying away from the idea of redos, especially of auteur-driven sci-fi movies from the 1980s and 1990s. Have they actually learned anything? Don’t be ridiculous. The next one to through the remake sausage grinder is, of all things, a new take on David Cronenberg‘s “Videodrome,” a film recently named by critics as the 202nd best of all time in the Sight & Sound poll.
Universal Pictures have had the reworking in the pipeline since 2009, hiring ‘Transformers 3 & 4‘ writer Ehren Kruger to pen a script, but unfortunately, they seem to be serious about the whole thing, as Deadline have revealed that the company has hired Swedish commercials and music video director Adam Berg to helm the remake. Berg started off with music video work for acts like A-Ha, The Cardigans and Graham Coxon, but really came to Hollywood’s attention a few years back with a short called “Carousel,” which told the story of a “The Dark Knight“-style bank robbery through one seemingly unbroken take frozen in time. That two-minute film (watch below) saw Berg courted for Fox‘s “Deadpool” movie with Ryan Reynolds, although ultimately another first timer, Tim Miller, got the job (though it remains to be seen if that film will even be made). As such, this would be Berg’s first film.
The 1983 original, which stars James Woods and Debbie Harry, follows a Toronto cable CEO who discovers a secret broadcast signal that’s capable of causing hallucinations, but according to Deadline, the script “modernizes” the concept with nano-technology and turns the story into “a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.” Say, doesn’t that game-plan sound familiar? Here’s how we imagine the conversation went down over at Universal:
Universal Executive 1: So, you know how Sony are probably going to lose, like, $100 million because they took Paul Verhoeven’s batshit-crazy “Total Recall,” stripped out all the weird bits and turned into into a generic action movie that somehow cost $200 million?
Universal Executive 2: Yeah?
Universal Executive 1: Why don’t we do the exact same thing, but with David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome?”
Universal Executive 2: Awesome, that’s a great idea. (They high five) Can we hire a first-time filmmaker, like we did on “47 Ronin,” a movie that went wildly over budget, and is now undergoing extensive reshoots?
Universal Executive 1: Of course we can! (They high five again) Say, is this cocaine making you feel weird?
Of course, maybe Adam Berg will turn out to be a visionary, the next Spike Jonze, and come up with a take that’s worthy of the original. But given that his calling card was a direct steal from Dominic Sena‘s “Swordfish,” of all fucking things, and that he’s working from a script by a writer whose finest hour so far is “Skeleton Key,” we highly doubt it. Assuming the film makes it to production, “Videodrome” will be lowering Comcast’s stock price some time in 2014.