For any foreign movie, there can be no greater accolade than being remade in English for a wide audience.
The latest overseas oddity to win this Hollywood lottery is ‘Toni Erdmann’, a rollicking rollercoaster of Teutonic sentimentality and beer-belly guffaws.
A shoo-in for this year’s Best Foreign Oscar, of greater note is the news that ‘Toni Erdmann’ will be remade Stateside.
Kristen Wiig is set to play the daughter too stiff to give, while Jack Nicholson is taking on the role of the dad who’s just too much.
But there’s more to transforming a minority interest into something mainstream-accessible than simply swapping no-name nobodies for Tinseltown royalty.
The original needs to be completely remoulded by an expert narrative taskmaster.
All that art-house flab has to be massaged into the toned muscularity of a punchy, plot-driven script.
And although there’s no word yet on which screenwriting hotshot will be scripting ‘Tony Earthman’…
(Though, Jack, if you’re reading this – DM me, babe.)
…I thought I’d take the opportunity to masterclass you with some spitball examples of how an obscure original can be refreshed for our savvy times.
1. ‘The Great Beauty’
The clock is well and truly ticking when journalist Jed (Tom Hanks) runs into his first love (Amy Adams) and learns she’s about to get married… to someone else!
Roaming the sumptuous streets of St. Louis, Jed has just 72 hours to win her back and recapture the spirit of his forgotten youth.
Tagline: ‘Faint heart never won great beauty’
2. ‘Bicycle Thieves’
In gritty post-Brexit London, struggling single dad Antony (Riz Ahmed) has his bike stolen, depriving him of his livelihood as a Deliveroo rider.
Searching for his steed, Antony’s urban contemporary odyssey crosses paths with a sympathetic human rights lawyer (Emily Blunt) and a flamboyantly vicious gangster (Eddie Redmayne).
Tagline: ‘They took his bike. They won’t take his spirit.’
3. ‘The Lives of Others’
Our conflicted antihero is an industrial spy (Colin Farrell), sent by a venal ad agency boss (Ben Mendelsohn) to sabotage a disruptive ethical creative shop run by a young husband and wife team (Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie Gyllenhaal).
But he falls for the wife and together they give the husband the support he needs to come out and start a new life with his immigrant lover (Omar Sy), before all four go into business together and become billionaires.
Tagline: ‘Other people’s lives are his biggest headache’
Hey, scriptwriting hopefuls! How would YOU turn coq au vin into juicy hamburger?
Let me know in the comments below!