I try to be accepting of remakes, I really do. But some days it is just so hard to do. And today is one of those days.
Writer David Koepp has been hired to pen Johnny Depp and director Rob Marshall’s planned remake of the 1934 classic The Thin Man. Back in March, Jerry Stahl had been hired to write the film. there is no word if he handed in a draft or dropped out of the project.
Deadline broke the story, along with the word that Marshall intends to “work in a musical number or two” and “take elements of the first two [Thin Man] films and work them into one film, putting it into a period setting and giving it a Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment.”
First off, I’m not much of a fan of Koepp as a script writer. Although he worked on the screenplays for Jurassic Park and the first of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, his name is on a number of stinkers including Toy Soldiers, Death Becomes Her, Snake Eyes, Steven Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and Angels & Demons.
Meanwhile, I think Marshall’s ideas for the film are entirely wrong-headed. Why does a breezy mystery need “a musical number or two”? Especially from the director of the rather messy cinematic version of Chicago?
As for giving it a “Sherlock Holmes-like stylized treatment,” it sounds like Marshall has entirely missed the point of the Guy Ritchie-directed take on the classic detective character. The stylized look of that film was the result of the style that Ritchie had been developing ever since his first film Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and in the case of Sherlock Holmes, helped to visually illustrate the speed and precision of Holmes’s thought process. I really can’t see what aping Ritchie’s style would do to help tell the story of Dashiell Hammet’s original novel better than the original film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy did.
And good luck to Koepp with the script assignment. Since the first two films of the franchise that sprung out of the surprise popularity of the 1934 film have entirely separate and independent storylines, I fail to see how elements of each can be synthesized into one screenplay.
If this thing ever gets made, I will probably be compelled to be in theaters on opening day, but only in the same way that I am compelled to slow down and stare when driving by a pretty horrific-looking car accident.