Some pieces of news are just bound to cause eye-rolling and heavy sighs. I’m not going to pretend as if I am some huge Romancing the Stone fan and that every single one of my sensibilities and emotions are offended by this news, but that’s not really necessary, is it? This is the sort of news that will, most likely, not be met with an outpouring of glee. But this is not a new brand of news.
The Romancing the Stone remake has been kicking around for years now, but without much of a push behind it. For awhile, Robert Luketic was attached to the film, and with him came the inevitable, a casting wish list that included Katherine Heigl (who Luketic has directed in two separate horror shows, The Ugly Truth and Killers). Though Luketic is now off the project, and Emma Watts and Fox are reportedly looking for “someone newish” to direct the film, Heigl is apparently still on the top of their wish lists to play the Joan Wilder role (played in the original by Kathleen Turner). And, somewhat bizarrely considering how different the two men are in terms of both age and star power, Watts and Fox have added Gerard Butler and Taylor Kitschto their “early wish list” to play Jack Colton (originally played by Michael Douglas).
As The Playlist wisely points out, “this [is] all tremendously early, and possibly none of these names will make it through,” but these sorts of supposed “wish lists” show the sort of film Fox is looking to make. Which sounds like, to put it mildly, a crappy one. Or, at the very least, a stunningly unoriginal take on existing material. The original Romancing the Stone is a fun, frisky mix of adventure and romance, a film that would never make anyone’s top film list, but a solid entry into its genre. Douglas and Turner had sizzling chemistry in the film, a chemistry that I’ve never seen Heigl even come close to in any of her films, no matter her leading man.
But no matter Heigl’s skill set (which I remain convinced is one of the most overrated, or at least overemployed, in Hollywood), what’s most disheartening about this sort of news is that it only reiterates how high Hollywood is on remakes that don’t seem to have a huge public demand behind them. Romancing the Stone works from basic elements – a fish out of water story, mismatched lovers, general hijinks – it’s packed with perfectly normal romantic pieces. Instead of remaking that film, why not make a new film from a new story that can combine those elements in its own way? Why remake a film that’s less than thirty years old? Is there really that little creativity left in Hollywood?