Friday, May 16, 2008
Anyone who was around in the early days of this blog might remember this post, in which I stated my love and admiration for Abel Ferrara's beautifully bold 1992 masterpiece Bad Lieutenant, a movie in my eyes which is among the finest in all of American cinema. The film, which started out from an original script by Zoe Lund (something that isn't mentioned enough), remains one of the most memorable theatrical theater experiences I have ever had and one of the most spiritually enlightning works of art I have ever seen...comparable to Pasolini's The Gospel According To Saint Matthew (yea, I think Ferrara's film is that good.)
This morning I saw the news that Nicolas Cage was planning on remaking the film and I have to admit that disgust was the first thing that crossed my mind. Cage was at one point one of my favorite American actors. He was bold, original and daring but since his award winning turn in Leaving Las Vegas (another one of my favorite films) he has become a bit like Rod Stewart after 1977...a disappointing commercial property with only flashes of what made him great. I figured this latest remake news (wasn't the raping of The Wicker Man enough?) was just another in a long line of disappointing choices in Cage's career and nothing more.
Imagine my surprise though when I saw that it was none other than the great Werner Herzog set to direct the remake...and to be honest it made the news even more disappointing. I could deal with someone like a Brett Ratner signed on to do it as that is expected, but Werner Herzog? Seriously, I wish someone would slap me and tell me I was having a nightmare. I love Herzog and he has made some of my favorite films but the idea of someone touching the final collaboration between Ferrara and Lund just makes me sick.
I really hope this film falls through and doesn't happen. If it does I hope it fails and I don't like to wish ill on any production, especially one by Werner Herzog but I just can't stomach this. With Zoe Lund gone, Harvey Keitel stuck in straight to video hell and Abel Ferrara not able to get American distribution for his newest films (not to mention the fact that the theatrical version of Bad Lieutenant is unavailable in the States), the idea for this remake seems as spiritually bankrupt as the Bad Lieutenant himself was in the beginning of Abel's film.
I've seen nearly every film Werner Herzog has ever made and Anchor Bay's two box sets of his work occupy a special place in my collection but I will not see this film if it happens. The original work by Abel Ferrara is perfect and totally untouchable in my eyes...I just can't bear to see it tampered with anymore.