In terms of remakes, reboots, reimagings, reimaginings, redos, rejigs and ‘that was shit, let’s try again’ movies go, it’s usually the horror genre that is primarily targeted. Fresh on the weekend’s news of yet another The Omen remake and a US redoing of Audition, now comes word of one more remake. No, not to fear, Jaws hasn’t finally been redone (I’ve said it before, that’s the day I stop all of this shit and just sit back and watch Hollywood burn), but the prison break/football (soccer) classic Escape to Victory (known as simply Victory in some markets) is the movie at the centre of this latest news.
The original film starred a mixture of actors, such as Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Max von Sydow, and footballers of the day, such as Bobby Moore, Pele, Ossie Ardiles, Mike Summerbee and John Wark (complete with tip-top moustache). Directed by John Huston, the 1981 effort was set in World War II Nazi-occupied Paris and focused on a group of P.O.W.’s who had to play a football match against those despicable Germans. As well as bringing in some present-day actors, you’d have to believe that some modern-day footballers will be involved too. Given the cash-cow that is David Beckham, could Becks wind up on the right wing of a P.O.W team, putting in balls for Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to put away. And who would the actors be? Could Christoph Waltz be heading up the Germany team? Could we see Chris Hemsworth replacing Sly between the sticks?
According to Variety, this redo of the much-loved classic will be helmed by Doug Liman, fresh from directing Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow. Despite looking horrible, Edge of Tomorrow has actually been getting some pretty decent ratings and reviews, putting Liman in demand. Rather than do some huge Hollywood blockbuster, the director is said to have opted to remake Huston’s ’81 movie. With Liman to direct, Gavin O’Connor is already working on a screenplay.
Why the sudden idea to remake Escape to Victory? In case you aren’t aware, there’s currently a little tournament going on in Brazil called the World Cup. As a huge football fan (sorry, it’ll never be called soccer by me), the last few weeks of my life have been dictated to by what games kick-off when. In terms of UK time, we’ve been getting games at 5pm, 8pm and 11pm up until these last few days. Quite proudly/sadly, I can say I’ve only actually missed one match up until this point – that was the 2am kick-off between Ivory Coast and Japan. Even then, I valiantly attempted to stay awake and watch it. With World Cup fever sweeping the globe, viewing figures have been doing ridiculously well in the US market. As ‘soccer’ is usually not seen as being up there with the likes of baseball and basketball in the US of A, these strong viewing figures for the World Cup have got people paying attention. It’s said that the massive surge in interest, largely down to the USA vs Portugal game, is the reason why a football movie is seen as a hot commodity right now. It also likely helps that the US are still involved in the tournament, playing Belgium tomorrow night for a place in the quarter-finals.
As well as an Escape to Victory remake happening, Image Entertainment is also working on Pele, a movie telling the tale of the man who many see as the greatest footballer of all time. 300‘s Rodrigo Santoro is signed on to play the man who specialised in scoring goals and advertising erectile dysfunction. Me, I’m not a Pele guy. Give me George Best, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona or Zinedine Zidane any day of the week. Hell, even give me Chris Llewellyn over Pele.
Expect more on this as and when it develops.