Mimi Leder (Pay It Forward) will be directing a new version of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic WWI novel All Quiet On The Western Front. Previously, the book served as the basis of the 1930 film of the same name. The original film remains one of the most powerful war films made winning the Best Picture Academy Award as well as Best Director for director Lewis Milestone. It’s story follows a number of German soldiers during World War One as they try to cope with the extreme physical and mental stress of war and their difficulty in adjusting to s=civilian life afterwards.
Deadline quotes the director talking about the project –
Even though the original film was made in 1930 at the advent of the talkies, I was moved by its depiction of the terrible senseless brutality of war… With this version, most of it takes place in the last 24 hours of the war. WWI fighting was brutal, hand-to-hand and ugly, and it practically wiped out a generation of young men. What is so compelling is the catastrophic levels of violence, this mind-numbing savagery, and what happens to a boy who in the journey to becoming a man has to become an animal. War destroys the humanity of this young man, stripping away his ability to feel, and making him act like a beast. Taken with the emotionality of how this young boy joined the war out of nationalism as many of our boys do to keep America safe, there is a message here about what happens to them and the politicians who are making war. It’s alarming how little this has changed. There is an opportunity to make a great film about war, but it is also an anti-war film, an un-romanticized version of war and its consequences.
At one point last summer, Daniel Radcliffe was being touted as attached to the project, but this new announcement makes no mention of the actor. Since I would think that a PR person would love to trumpet the participation of the star of the summer’s biggest film in the cast of a new film, I’m going to assume that Radcliffe is no longer involved.
Filming is planned to commence in Europe in “late 2012.”
Coincidentally, the original will be airing on Turner Classic Movies this Saturday at 8 pm.