Although I think that Chris Rock is one of the most talented stand-up comics working today, I have not been much of a fan of either his film acting or screenwriting work. So it is with great trepidation that I greet the announcement that Rock will be taking over screenwriting duties from no less than David Mamet on director Mile Nichol’s planned remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 thriller High And Low.
Rock made the announcement to Black Voices while out promoting the upcoming release of Death At A Funeral, ironically a remake itself of director Frank Oz’s 2007 comedy. The story focuses on a business man whose son is kidnapped. But while he prepares the ransom, he learns that his son is safe and it was his chauffeur’s child who was mistakenly snatched, leaving him in the moral quandary of helping his employee or using the cash for a buyout that will save his business.
Even if I liked the quality of Rock’s writing output, I would have to question why he was chosen for the assignment. He previous scripted films have all been comedies- Down To Earth, Head Of State and I Think I Love My Wife. Granted Down To Earth and I Think I Love My Wife were both remakes (of Heaven Can Wait and Eric Rohmer’s L’Amour L’Après-Midi respectively), but nothing on his resume really speaks to him having any previous experience with the material. I’m hoping that Rock had one incredible pitch that landed him the job.