Being a big fan of Ira Levin‘s “The Boys From Brazil”, which works extremely well on the page, I was more than a little disappointed with Franklin Schaffner‘s film version, which (I don’t believe this) opened 28 years ago. And now New Line is financing a remake of the Shaffner film to be directed, God help us all, by Brett Ratner, who just keeps digging himself in deeper and deeper with each new film. Has Ratner nudged aside McG, Michael Bay, Roger Kumble and Stephen Sommers for the title of the most despised commercial director on the planet? I don’t know. I’m asking.
New Line reportedly has the idea of Boys being Ratner’s immediate followup to Rush Hour 3, with (I’m guessing) a possible ’08 release.
It’s not just that Ratner’s The Boys from Brazil will probably eat shit on a stick; it’s that a reconstituted Adolf Hitler (brought back through cloning) doesn’t mean all that much to the I-Pod-ers. Baby boomers, whose parents fought World War II, were the last generation to have Hitler’s evil impressed upon them first-hand. And I wonder how much the Hitler brief impresses in the shadows of 9/11, Middle East suicide bombings, Islamic fundamentalism , ethnic cleansing killings, poison-gassings and all the other horrors that have manifested over the past 25 or 30 years. He’s not the superstar he used to be.
Michael Fleming‘s Variety story says Richard Potter and Matthew Stravitz‘s script “pitched a take that sticks close to Levin’s novel but sets the action in the present day” — in other words, they seem to be sticking with Adolf. I really don’t get it. Ratner told Fleming that Schaffner’s version “was a flawed film with a brilliant concept…you no longer have to spend time explaining cloning as you did then.” Cloning wasn’t a problem with the Schaffner version at all, trust me.
(Personal disclosure: I was fairly friendly with Jeremy Black, the kid who played all the Little Hitlers in the Schaffner film, back in the mid ’70s. He comes from Wilton, Connecticut, as I do, as is the son of B’way producer David Black and kid brother of poet Sophie Black.)