‘Vertigo’ Remake with Robert Downey Jr. Eyed to Star Set at Paramount

"Peaky Blinders" creator Steven Knight will write the script for the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 classic.
Robert Downey Jr., James Stewart in "Vertigo"
Robert Downey Jr., James Stewart in "Vertigo"
Getty Images/Courtesy Everett Collection

Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho,” eat your heart out: Another Alfred Hitchcock remake is en route.

Paramount Pictures has preemptively acquired the rights to a remake of “Vertigo,” one of the Master of Suspense’s most beloved classics, IndieWire has confirmed. Robert Downey Jr. is currently in talks to star, with the Marvel star potentially taking on the lead role of John “Scottie” Ferguson, played in the original 1958 film by James Stewart.

Steven Knight, the writer behind British series “Peaky Blinders” and the script of 2008’s “Eastern Promises,” will pen the screenplay. The news comes a day after Knight was tapped by Lucasfilm to write an upcoming “Star Wars” film directed by Shameen Obaid-Chinoy following Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson’s exit from the project.

Based on the 1954 French novel “D’entre les morts” by Boileau-Narcejac, the original “Vertigo” tells the story of Scottie, a former police detective who develops severe vertigo and acrophobia (or fear of heights) during an incident on the job. When an acquaintance hires Scottie to track his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) after she begins acting suspiciously, Scottie quickly develops an obsession with the beautiful stranger, and stumbles into a complex web of plots that threatens to destroy his sanity.

“Vertigo” was not an immediate success upon release, gaining mixed reviews and performing only modestly at the box office. In the years, since however, it has grown in stature, and is now arguably Hitchcock’s single most acclaimed film, with praise for its score, performances, and Hitchcock’s innovative filmmaking; it was the very first movie to use a dolly zoom shot. In 2012, it topped the annual Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films of all time, and came second in last year’s edition.

Hitchcock’s films, in spite (or because) of their iconic status, tend not to receive many remakes or re-adaptations of their source materials. The most famous remake of one of the legendary director’s films is Van Sant’s 1998 “Psycho,” which notoriously recreated Hitchcock’s original 1960 film almost shot for shot. 1998 also saw a TV remake of “Rear Window” starring Christopher Reeve and “A Perfect Murder,” a retelling of “Dial M for Murder.”

In addition to potentially starring in the remake, Downey will produce with his wife Susan Downey via their Team Downey production banner, along with John Davis and John Fox via Davis Entertainment.

Deadline was the first to report the news of a “Vertigo” remake at Paramount.

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