Sunday, March 20, 2005

Pity Poitier

A look inside the minds of the folks at Columbia Pictures:

"Remakes are big. Alfie, The Ladykillers, The Manchurian Candidate..."

"Didn't all of those underperform at the box office?"

"Well, yes. But that's not important. Remakes can get press coverage that original films can't, and they attract audiences based on familiarity alone. From a marketing standpoint, they're great."

"So what did you have in mind?"

"Comedy remakes. Steve Martin's Father of the Bride did gangbusters. Just take an old classic, do the whole "bringing it into the 21st century" thing to it, and voila...instant script."

"Any comedy in particular?"

"We take the other old 'Spencer Tracy as frazzled dad' movie, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and we switch the races. A black daughter brings home a white fiance, and hijinks ensue."

"Hijinks? I don't think the original Guess Who's Coming to Dinner had hijinks."

"But the original was dull. It was all about race relations and prejudice. We're past all that. A remake needs more physical humor like, I don't know, go-cart races and stuff."

"I can't imagine Sidney Poitier in a go-cart."

"What do you mean?"

"Sidney was a distinguished actor. His character in the movie was educated and well-spoken. He didn't do physical gags."

"Then we'll go another route. Cast a different type of actor."

"So who do you see in the Poitier role?"

"Ashton Kutcher."

"You want the kid from Dude, Where's My Car to remake a Sidney Poitier character?"

"Why not? He's funny, he loves physical comedy, and he'll play off the dad well."

"I suppose you also think it'd be a good idea to remake In the Heat of the Night with Sidney's role going to Jamie Kennedy or somebody like that?"

"Ooh, and Cedric the Entertainer could play Rod Steiger's role. I love it."



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