HDTGM: A Conversation with Renny Harlin

 

Renny Harlin

A couple months back, Paul Scheer and the gang covered The Covenant on How Did This Get Made? Ever since then, Paul and I have been trying to arrange an interview with the film’s director, the great Renny Harlin, a Finnish-born filmmaker best known for helming action-packed classics like Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger.

It took a little while to coordinate the conversation, as Harlin has been stationed in China these past two years. But luckily for us, between finishing post on his upcoming Jackie Chan film Skiptrace and launching his new production company in Beijing, Harlin carved out an hour to take a stroll down memory lane.

During our chat, we talked about all sorts of things. From his mission to assemble the “sexiest cast ever” for The Covenant to his original choice to play the villain in Cliffhanger. But as interesting as details like that can be—and as wonderfully quotable as Harlin tends to be—they pale in comparison to the unexpected and over-arching story of Harlin’s career. A career that, as you will now see, never even should have been…

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Cliffhanger remake

A “re-imagining” of Renny Harlin’s 1993 film Cliffhanger is in the works from producer Neal Moritz, and a new screenwriter has been hired to push the development forward. Joe Gazzam was given the nod to write the screenplay based on his new pitched take.  Read More »

cliffhanger dekker

Back in May, StudioCanal announced that they would be teaming with Neal Moritz’s Original Films to reboot Cliffhanger. At the time, not much was known about the project aside from the fact that it would be big budget and would center on a group of young climbers on “multiple cliff-face locations.” At the time, Moritz said that they were searching for a screenwriter, and hoping to begin production in 2010.

Our friends at FirstShowing might have come across a scoop regarding the film’s scribe. While attending a Santa Monica screening of The Monster Squad, director Fred Dekker revealed that he is “currently writing Cliffhanger 2.” It is interesting that he referred to the project as “Cliffhanger 2” and not a remake or reboot of Cliffhanger. Is it possible that the story has Sylvester Stallone set to return as Gabe Walker? Or are we reading too much into a quick comment. Probably the latter.
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cliffhanger-part-two.jpg

If true, this is a bad move. PR Insider reports that Sylvester Stallone is in negotiations with Sony Pictures to revise his character Cliffhanger, er, Gabe Walker, in a sequel to 1993’s Cliffhanger, which grossed $84 million domestically and $200 million plus worldwide. The sequel will be entitled The Dam, which automatically makes me think of the “surefire” pitch that became 1996’s megaflop Daylight: Stallone versus dam tunnel. And, I’m so sure, there are challenging cliffs to hang from on a dam.

“There’s only one man for this job.” – Guy in Hard Hat with Walkie Talkie

Stallone’s Rambo is nearing $40 million domestic, but won’t reach the $70 million heights of Rocky Balboa. Super Bowl weekend seemed to take out a chunk of its potential business, as word of mouth was overwhelmingly positive. Worldwide, the sequel is still rolling out, and the industry already views the film as a success; the press, another success story. As much as I think Stallone remaking Charles Bronson’s Death Wish is uninspired, bookending another of his Golden Oldies, one memorable only for its atmosphere and a bug-eyed villain played by John Lithgow, narrows the scope of his latest comeback and opens up the punchlines.

Does anyone see potential in Cliffhanger 2: The Dam?