Maren Ade’s intensely beloved “Toni Erdmann” is a 160-minute German comedy about absent fathers, women in the workplace, the perversions of globalism, and the human incapacity to appreciate the good things in life before they’re gone. The Cannes sensation, which stars Sandra Hüller as a German business consultant whose work in Romania is repeatedly disrupted by her prankster father (the great Peter Simonischek), features a scene where a man eats a cookie that’s been glazed with his own sperm. Despite being shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and winning a number of other accolades, it has made approximately $12 at the U.S. box office during its limited release.
Needless to say, the writing on the wall couldn’t be clearer: There will be a Hollywood remake of “Toni Erdmann.”
It would be, of course, a colossally terrible idea. But in the year 2017, the fact that it would be a colossally terrible idea is the very thing that makes it inevitable.
For what it’s worth, Ade herself isn’t against the notion. In fact, she recently stoked all sorts of dismayed conjecture when, in an interview with the German outlet Bild, the writer-director said that a remake “would not affect the original. You can shorten the film and make a pure comedy out of [it].” She then immediately stressed that she didn’t want any involvement in the potential project: “I would not be the one to do it. I am so happy that I finished the film. It took me five and a half years to write.”
Presumably, Hüller and Simonischek would also choose not to be involved — just as whatever Hollywood studio picked up the tab would presumably choose not to invite them (believe it or not, Hüller’s Best Actress award at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival didn’t make her a household name here in the States). Since other actors would have to fill those enormous shoes, we might as well hope that they fill them well. And so, with the significant caveat that the world most definitely does not need an American remake of “Toni Erdmann” — click the gallery up top to see our picks for which stars we’d like to see try and translate the magic of 2016’s most memorable movie duo.