Warner Bros. has announced their plans for a remake of Peter Hyams’ 1981 thriller Outland, and they’ve already named a director for the project.
Per Variety, Michael Davis will be directing the new film from a script by Chad St. John. Davis’ last film was the over-the-top action flick Shoot ‘Em Up starring Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti. Fun, action set-pieces aside, that movie was a cartoonish romp that offered nothing in the way of nuance, character, or drama. It will be interesting to see what Davis does with this new (well, old really) material. “We’re staying true to the thematic heart of Outland” Davis says, “while expanding the space frontier concept.”
Outland starred Sean Connery as a police marshall stationed at a mining outpost on one of Jupiter’s moons. He’s too good at his job and quickly makes some powerful enemies who in turn call for backup in taking out the marshall. Connery’s character finds himself alone and awaiting their impending arrival while friends, strangers, and fellow police officers all bail on helping him out of fear and greed. It’s a solid genre flick filled with some real tension as the clock ticks towards the shuttle and the hit squad’s inevitable appearance.
If that sounds at all familiar either you’ve seen the movie or you’ve seen High Noon. Outland is already a loose remake of that 1952 film which found Gary Cooper as a marshall on one of Neptune’s moons who’s abandoned by those around him when evil comes flying into town. Many believe the film is a thinly-veiled commentary on the blacklisting that was happening in Hollywood at the time, and more specifically on the unwillingness of most people to stand up for what’s right. Uber-conservative actor John Wayne even went so far as to call the film “the most un-American thing I’ve ever seen.” That subtext was obviously missing from Outland.
What do you think about an Outland remake, and do you wish it involved a talking penguin?