Taking teenage infatuation to the big screen is nothing new (let’s take a minute to consider every incarnation of Romeo & Juliet we’ve ever been subjected to), so the news that Universal is planning on remaking Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 schlockfest, Endless Love, is perhaps the least shocking thing we’ll hear about all day. What is a bit surprising, however, is the news of who the studio is planning to tap to direct the project.
Variety reports (via Cinema Blend) that Country Strong director Shana Feste is in talks for the project. As Cinema Blend notes, “as Country Strong made little more than its budget back at the box office and was widely panned by critics, it’s surprising Feste is getting a second chance to helm another picture so soon, especially considering how statistics don’t favor female filmmakers rebounding from flops.” Also, Feste is apparently the sort of director who thinks that Gwyneth Paltrow makes for good country croonin’, so who knows what she’ll cook up for her new Endless Love.
This new film’s script has been penned by Josh Safran, but it’s currently”not known how faithful the adaptation will be, as Universal is keeping plot details under wraps.” Safran is best known for writing and producing Gossip Girl and producing Smash, so it seems likely that his take on Love will feature a lot of headbands and big musical numbers, which actually sounds sort of amazing, because Endless Love is like, really bad.
Based on Scott Spencer’s novel of the same name (which, I must note, is actually a classic and much better than Zeffirelli’s Brooke Shields– and Martin Hewitt-starring film), Endless Love is one of the most overheated and overwrought films about teen angst and love ever. It centers on the gorgeous Jade Butterfield (Shields), her cool hippie family, the straight-laced boy who loves her (Hewitt as David Axelrod), and Jade and David’s totally consuming love affair that upends all of their lives. It’s nutty and smutty and also involves arson. It’s hot.
Endless Love is also known as a source of nifty Hollywood trivia versus (being memorable for being actually good). As is often mentioned, the film was the big screen debut of one Tom Cruise, but it was also the first film for mega-watt stars Jami Gertz and Ian Ziering (the mind simply reels at the talent level present in this film). It was also critically maligned, in addition to being unintentionally hilarious. And, despite an Oscar nom for Lionel Richie’s (hello, is it me you’re looking for, terrible movie) title song, the film also received six Razzie nominations (including performance nominations for Shields, Hewitt, and supporting actress Shirley Knight, along with a Worst Director nod for Zeffirelli, and Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay nominations to boot). Basically, it was 1981’s Jack and Jill.
Shields kicked off her acting career with essentially a half-fearless, half-silly sex-fueled world tour – she was only 12 when filmed her first major role in Pretty Baby as a child prostitute, which she followed with 1980’s Blue Lagoon (also filled with boot-knockin’), before diving into Endless Love at age 16. Insane role choices, clearly, but still brave ones, the sort that we rarely see with Hollywood’s rising It Girls. Will this new Endless Love collar an equally as interesting leading lady? Yeah, probably not.