Walter Hill Set to Remake ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’ Because He Feels the Question Has Yet to be Answered Adequately

Whatever happened to Walter Hill?

He’s never really stopped working, but it’s fair to say Hill’s heyday was the 1980s and that it’s been a low profile ride downhill ever since. The man behind The Warriors, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs, Streets of Fire, Brewster’s Millions and Red Heat began to slow down into the 90s as his particular brand of straight-forward, hype-free films lost cachet with audiences. Most folks probably can’t name many of his movies after 1990 aside from Trespass and Last Man Standing (granted, he only made four others), but it looks like he may be headed towards a resurgence of sorts.

Next year will see the release of Bullet to the Head starring Sylvester Stallone, Thomas “Not Ethnic Enough” Jane and Sung Kang as a cop and a hitman who join forces against a common enemy, and the director is already lining up his next project. It’s a remake, and surprise surprise…it’s pretty much unnecessary.

Per Deadline Carnes, Hill has signed on to write and direct a remake of Robert Aldrich’s 1962 film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with The Aldrich Company. The original was based on the novel by Henry Farrell, but there’s no word yet as to whether Hill will do the same or base his script on the existing film. (The novel was already re-adapted by ABC in 1991 with real life sisters Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave.) The story follows two adult sisters, an ex-child star named Jane whose star long since faded and the other ,a popular ex-starlet forced to retire after an accident robs her ability to walk. Jane’s descent into madness bodes poorly for her sister’s care, and the role was immortalized by Bette Davis in the original.

It’s way too early for casting news, but one would hope Hill sticks with talented, mature actresses instead of a box-office-friendly change to hot twenty-somethings.

The two equal leads demand great performers — that is a given,” Hill said. “The intensity of the Gothic storyline makes a reconfiguration of the drama still a potentially searing experience. The idea is to make a modern film without modernizing the period. It needs to resonate the golden age of Hollywood.”

So expect a casting announcement shortly naming Kate Hudson and Katherine Heigl in the lead roles.

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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