The River Wild: Everything We Know So Far About The Thriller Remake

In 1994, Universal Pictures released the thriller "The River Wild" starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Bacon. It was the story of a couple, their kid, and a dog who are white water rafting on the Salmon River in Idaho. They ultimately run into some criminals and find out that the rapids are the least of their worries on this dangerous family outing. 

Directed by Curtis Hanson, "The River Wild" also starred David Strathairn, John C. Reilly, Benjamin Bratt, Joseph Mazzello, and a very good dog named Maggie. (At least, that was the dog's name in the film, and its real name isn't in the credits.) It did well at the box office, earning $94.2 million worldwide. Streep and Bacon were both nominated for Golden Globes for their work in the film.

Now the film is being remade with Leighton Meester, Taran Killam, and Adam Brody, according to Collider. It's not going to be exactly the same movie, but the DNA is there. 

What we think The River Wild will be about

According to that Collider story (which contains a first look image of the cast), the vacationers in question aren't a husband, wife, and child in the new film. This version of "The River Wild" will have a brother and sister, and their childhood friend going on the trip together. However, once they start traveling, they realize "that their childhood friend is more dangerous than he seems." Glenn Ross, General Manager and Executive Vice President at Universal 1440 Entertainment said of the film:

"We are excited to announce a thrilling new 'The River Wild story,' with fresh characters and a story that brings the universe to new audiences and fans of the original. The production features a talented cast, and we think movie lovers will be excited by director Ben Ketai's modern take on the popular classic film."

I like the idea of the "modern take" making the dangerous person in the group someone the characters know. It would be hard to imagine vacationers who just trust a group of strangers they meet in the wilderness in 2022. It's been a very long time since I saw the original, but I remember thinking it was odd even then that a couple with a young kid in tow would just agree to take some random men — whose friend left because of an "argument" — on their family vacation, no matter what the circumstances were. 

What we know about the cast and crew of The River Wild

The film comes to us from Universal 1440 Entertainment. Leighton Meester ("Gossip Girl") and Taran Killam ("Saturday Night Live") star as the brother and sister, with Adam Brody ("Promising Young Woman"), as the childhood friend. The film will be directed by Ben Ketai who co-wrote "30 Days of Night: Dark Days" and "The Strangers: Prey at Night." Ketai tackled the script with Mike Nguyen Le ("Patient Zero"), and Ogden Gavanski is set to produce.

This film will re-team the three actors who worked together on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Single Parents." It's also a family affair in another way, as Meester and Brody are married in real life.

"The River Wild" has recently begun production in Hungary. All we know about the release date so far is that it will come out sometime during 2023 on digital "and other non-theatrical platforms," but we'll keep you updated as news breaks.