'Red Dawn' redo lands director, scribe
Screenwriter Carl Ellsworth has been hired to recraft the ultimate homeland invasion story about a new generation of besieged high schoolers.
Dan Bradley, a second unit director and/or stunt coordinator on "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Spider-Man 3" and the forthcoming "Quantum of Solace," will move into the director's chair for the update. Contrafilm's Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson will produce.
MGM toppers Harry Sloan and Mary Parent announced the remake -- along with a big-budget rebuild of "RoboCop," which director Darren Aronofsky among others has recently been in to discuss -- in May at the Festival de Cannes. As the studio regroups, its executives have realized that the strong MGM library has numerous classic and cult properties it can exploit for a new audience.
"The tone is going to be very intense, very much keeping in mind the post-9/11 world that we're in," says Ellsworth, who was 11 when the original was released. "As 'Red Dawn' scared the heck out of people in 1984, we feel that the world is kind of already filled with a lot of paranoia and unease, so why not scare the hell out of people again?"
Ellsworth will be working from a story written by Jeremy Passmore. Vincent Newman ("A Man Apart") is also acting in a producer capacity.
The original "Dawn" was the Cold War brainchild of writer-director John Milius, who devised a World War III invasion of America by the Soviets and Cubans. The film followed the scrappy insurgency of a group of Midwestern teenagers who take on their high school mascot name -- "Wolverines!" -- as a rallying cry of resistance.
The 1984 action drama was the first film released in theaters with the newly devised PG-13 rating because of its intense subject matter and violent content.
Ellsworth, who is repped by ICM and the Shuman Co., most recently handed in an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's comics series "Y: The Last Man" to New Line. He also wrote "Red Eye," co-wrote "Disturbia" and rewrote the screenplay for the "Last House on the Left" remake, produced by the original film's writer-director, Wes Craven. Rogue Pictures will release it early next year.
Bradley also is repped by ICM.