The notion of remaking “The Wild Bunch” is not a new one. There’s been an ongoing conversation about it for a while now. In January, Borys Kit did a nice rundown of the internal remake conversations going on at Warner Bros., and I lost my damn fool mind about the notion of this particular title going in front of the camera again. It’s asinine for all the reasons I explained before. Even with Brian Helgeland, a very smart guy, writing the remake, I just can’t see it.
I’m having a hard enough time making peace with the notion of a “Straw Dogs” remake, but at least that’s based on a book. With “The Wild Bunch,” I just can’t imagine someone else doing it in a way that improves upon what Peckinpah had to say with that movie. That was as personal a statement as any artist slipped by a major studio in that era. It’s like “remaking” a Picasso. You can paint the same thing he painted. You can even paint it in his style. You might even make aesthetic choices that I like more. But the truth remains… he painted it first, and it was his statement. Yours is just an echo.
The same report also indicates that Tony Scott is interested in doing “Hell’s Angels” with Jeff Bridges as Sonny Barger, with Scott Frank writing the script. Ummmm… YES. THIS. DO THIS. A thousand times over, yes. I’ll even take a Dramamine and sit through the shakiest shaky cam version of that film if it means you’re not going to remake “The Wild Bunch.” Doing a smart character driven movies about the Hell’s Angels in the middle of a gang war sounds like a great match for the types of films Tony Scott makes.
Besides, he’s already busy making a needless extension of “Top Gun” that is either a sequel or a prequel or a remake or a whatever. After all, he can’t let Sir Ridley Scott have all the fun, now, can he?