Movie reboot: What if you could remake these movies?
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” That isn’t necessarily the greatest movie line in history, but for anyone who saw Rob Reiner’s 1987 cult classic “The Princess Bride,” it’s certainly one of the more memorable.
Reiner, the director of this summer’s “And So It Goes,” recently sat down with Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast website to talk about Reiner’s new film and illustrious career. Then, at one point, Reiner said “...no movie I’ve ever made would be made by a studio today.”
(To find the article, search “Reiner” at thedailybeast.com.)
At first read, that quote seems ridiculous given that in addition to the beloved “The Princess Bride,” Reiner also directed “When Harry Met Sally,” one of the greatest chick flicks ever.
“The Princess Bride” wouldn’t get made “in a million years” nowadays because “...There’s no stars, it’s an oddball adventure/love story/satire,” Reiner said.
Studio executives prefer to “make the big, tentpole superhero/action movies, animated films and R-rated raunchy sex comedies,” Reiner said.
In light of Reiner’s comments, we selected several well-known movies celebrating anniversaries this year — “The Wizard of Oz” marks 75 years; “My Fair Lady,” 50 years; “Ghostbusters,” 30 years; “When Harry Met Sally,” 25 years; and “Mean Girls,” 10 years — to guess how different these films would be if they were made today as compared to the originals.
“The Wizard of Oz” — 1939
Budget: estimated at $2.78 million, according to imdb.com.
Starring: Judy Garland as Dorothy, Frank Morgan as The Wizard of Oz, Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow and Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West.
Plot: The movie starts in black and white, depicting Dorothy’s country life in Kansas, as a tornado comes and takes her house away to the magical land of Oz, where she lands on a witch and the movie moves to color. As she’s following the yellow brick road to find the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her dog Toto meet a series of characters, slowly learning that she really loves her home and family after all.
“The Wizard of Oz” — Today
Budget: at least $240 million. As if Hollywood is turning down the chance to amp up the tornado scenes, the flying monkeys and the special effects in Oz or Munchkinland, particularly in 3D.
Starring: Singer/actress Lea Michele as Dorothy. (Hollywood’s not cutting the music. Did you see how well “Frozen” did?), Sir Ian McKellen as The Wizard of Oz because he was born in 1939 and already has a wizard vibe thanks to his role as Gandalf in all the “Lord of the Rings” movies, James Franco as The Scarecrow because he would embrace the clumsy nature of the character, and Charlize Theron as The Wicked Witch of the West because the witch needs to be tall and imposing — Theron is 5-foot-10 to Michele’s 5’3”. Makeup designers can ugly her up if they want or (more likely) throw a curveball and make the witch wickedly beautiful.
Plot: The original plot (except for the black and white) would work nowadays: a few songs, a natural disaster, heavy special effects and those ruby red slippers would make this a summer blockbuster for families.
“My Fair Lady” — 1964
Budget: estimated at $17 million, according to imdb.com.
Starring: Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins.
Plot: A poor Cockney flower girl named Eliza Doolittle overhears an arrogant phonetics professor named Henry Higgins wager that he could teach her to be a more presentable member of high society in London of the Edwardian period in the early 1900s. Doolittle and Higgins have this back and forth relationship as she morphs into a polished woman.
“My Fair Lady” — Today
Budget: $40 million.
Starring: “Downton Abbey’s” Michelle Dockery as Eliza Doolittle (Idina Menzel can record the singing parts. After all, Hepburn did not sing most of her musical numbers.) Dockery can do sophisticated. Hugh Jackman as Professor Henry Higgins for his charm and voice.
Plot: Although the whole rags-to-riches tale is classic, today’s Hollywood would waste no time writing in a couple raunchy sex scenes between Doolittle and Higgins and would change his job to a “prestigious” investment banker knowledgable in the arts. However, the costumes and look of Edwardian London strikes a chord today. Look at the success of period British pieces and the obsession with the Royal Family.
“Ghostbusters” — 1984
Budget: estimated at $32 million, according to imdb.com.
Starring: Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Raymond Stantz, Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett and Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler.
Plot: Three unemployed parapsychology professors go into business hunting and removing ghosts from New York City locations, culminating with the ultimate showdown between man (and proton packs) and a deadly spirit at the top of a skyrise.
“Ghostbusters” — Today
Budget: at least $280 million because executives would have to pay a premium for the comedic chops this movie requires, not to mention a lot more money to make the special effects and sets pop on the big screen because this film is obviously being released in 3D as a summer blockbuster. Oh, and it must be filmed in New York City and not Toronto.
Starring: Funny man Steve Carell as Dr. Peter Venkman, funny man Will Ferrell as Dr. Raymond Stantz, an understated Drew Barrymore as Dana Barrett and funny man Paul Rudd as Dr. Egon Spengler.
Plot: New York City is the epicenter for all-things ghost, and the guys would drive around in a loud, over-the-top hearse because that’s funny. But their ghost-hunting antics would take them to such popular locales as Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center since New York City is going to let them film on-scene. The comedic chemistry between Carell, Ferrell and Rudd is established, so movie makers can let these guys play off each other. One of the final villains would be a gigantic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade float because Stantz tries to think of the one harmless thing from his childhood that could never possibly kill them. (The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man remains one of the best villains ever, and the studio would be willing to consider it for the right price.)
“When Harry Met Sally” — 1989
Budget: estimated at $16 million, according to imdb.com.
Starring: Meg Ryan as Sally Albright and Billy Crystal as Harry Burns.
Plot: Harry and Sally start as strangers but, through a series of random meetings, grow to become friends because they fear sex would ruin their platonic friendship.
“When Harry Met Sally” — Today
(Melinda Mawdsley note: The fact that I’m even thinking about remaking this movie makes me feel sick to my stomach. Reiner’s claim that this movie wouldn’t be made today is true. It didn’t have enough sex — there was just one scene — to be a romantic comedy today. Nowadays, sexual tension isn’t implied. It has to be shown repeatedly, removing the skill of acting and audience interpretation. Watch “No Strings Attached” if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.)
Budget: $35 million.
Starring: Amy Adams as Sally Albright for her likability and sweetness and Bradley Cooper as Harry Burns because he’s a box-office draw.
Plot: Stage this in Los Angeles where it’s probably less expensive to film. A naïve but confident Sally and an arrogant Harry bump into each other at an art opening when he spills his wine on her dress and uses it as an excuse to touch her breasts. She is repulsed and never forgets his face, and he never forgets how crazy and beautiful she is. They bump into each other repeatedly in L.A. through the years, hook up, then get upset at each other about it. One day, Harry finds Sally crying on the beach sparking sympathy and a serious conversation about the death of a parent. They become friends but mutually agree to take it no further. The game of cat-and-mouse begins as they soften each other to the idea of love and compatibility before a dramatic split. They end up at that same art gallery where they originally met. What do you think happens?
“Mean Girls” — 2004
Budget: estimated $17 million, according to imdb.com.
Starring: Lindsay Lohan as Cady Heron, Jonathan Bennett as Aaron Samuels, Rachel McAdams as Regina George and Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury.
Plot: After a relatively sheltered life being homeschooled by zoologist parents in Africa, Cady enters the “real jungle:” public high school, where she clashes with the A-list girls clique and falls for Regina George’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels. Regina is, like, a big deal. Not good, Cady. Not good.
“Mean Girls” — Today
Budget: $17 million. (Melinda Mawdsley note: I can’t see why Hollywood needs a lot of money to make this movie.)
Starring: Chloe Grace Moretz as Cady Heron because she’s big right now, Jake T. Austin as Aaron Samuels because no one knows who he is so he’s affordable and cute, Selena Gomez as Regina George because she’s Selena Gomez and Jane Lynch as Ms. Norbury because the target audience probably likes “Glee.”
Plot: After a relatively sheltered life being homeschooled by zoologist parents in Africa, Cady enters the “real jungle:” public high school, where she clashes with the A-list girls clique and falls for Regina George’s ex-boyfriend. Regina is, like, a big deal. Not good, Cady. Not good.
Unlike 10 years ago, however, Hollywood uses social media to create hype and hysteria with young people. Tweet #watchyourback or #cadynaaron4ever with a selfie from the theater, and the studios and (GASP!) stars of the movie will retweet their faves! They will probably throw in a Selena Gomez and Jane Lynch song for good measure.