Posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
Did Slashfilm piss off the Ghost of April Fool’s Day? Topping off a day of odd movie announcements and rumors, Variety reports that director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Aguirre: Wrath of God) will helm a remake of Abel Ferrara’s NC-17 classic Bad Lieutenant starring Nicolas Cage in the title role, formerly inhabited, and fantastically so, by Harvey Keitel back in ’92. The remake is scheduled to begin filming late summer. Like Point Break 2, first word of this remake arrived last year and I believe that Ferrara himself was considering it.
For those who haven’t seen it (do so), Keitel starred as a corrupt New York cop strenuously spiraling into an abyss of narcotics, thievery, naked disorientation, and betting/losing his monies on Darryl Strawberry (the irony). Ferrara’s is one of my favorite depictions of New York in film, because the city’s garbage and vice seeps into Keitel’s character until he’s forced to flush it out and face the consequences. And it may sound sensational, but the movie’s recurring theme of faith is like a punch in the gut and quite effective.
Apparently, Herzog’s remake will update the time period and cop to post-9/11. Last year, FilmStalker parlayed that the script by TV writer/producer William M. Finkelstein (NYPD Blue, Murder One) contained the following plot points…
According to the story Finkelstein is bringing the character back to life with a backstory of drug addiction, the showing of his promotion to Sergeant, the drug related murders of five illegal immigrants and a name for the character. Other than that they say that the drugs, sex, stealing and gambling are still going to play a major part in the story.
Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a case of “who’s bad?” between ’92 NYC and ’00s NYC. That would make as much sense as remaking Larry Clark’s Kids in the present day. Respected producer Edward R. Pressman, who backed the original film, is on board again along with a long line-up of other producers including Stephen Belafonte and Nu Image/Millennium’s Danny Dimbort. I am a big fan of Herzog and dig/ignore a lot of Cage’s work, but I’m not yet convinced this will be anything other than a harder, more intimate version of Training Day.
Discuss: The talent involved strikes interest, but is an update needed? Who cares about debating whether Hollywood should remake the film, because they will remake anything, but do you personally think the times call for a new Bad Lieutenant, as it seems it will be heavy on commentary? I know we’ll get a lot of “well, it could be worse” below, but try to avoid that treaded route if you’ve seen the original. Add insight.