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The film remake thread (especially Zulu)


Jack

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past it at 45 {deep sigh}!

"40s are the new 20s"

Michael Keaton in Ron Howard's, 'The Paper'.

Funny, I was telling my son just the other day that the oft used adage "life begins at 40" was crap! Fair enough I have a great deal more knowledge but I don't have the energy to put it into use! I have less money than I had when I was 25, less enthusiasm, in fact less of everything!

Just as an aside Brian, ever thought of tackling a screenplay for Catch 22? The 60's film was always looked upon as disappointing compared to the book (I've been reading it lately which may explain my sombre mood). Time for a re-make perhaps...and I'd expect a credit! icon_wink.gif

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Guest Brian M
Just as an aside Brian, ever thought of tackling a screenplay for Catch 22?

Ah, if only! But, dare I say the catch 22 of that is that if you don't have the rights for something, then writing a screenplay becomes no more than a writing exercise, as nobody will ever read the darn thing!*

(and it's hard enough to get folks to read your stuff as it is! lol)

In that dream world where everybody hangs on my every wish (paging Ms. Diaz...) I do have several projects I would L.O.V.E to re-write / adapt for the big screen. Stuff like, Zulu, The Warriors, Judge Dread, Day of Trifids, Blake's 7, Logan's Run, Camelot 3000 (to name a few). But, ya know...until Spielberg or Sam Raimi start returning my calls, these projects will remain the stuff of fantasy!

*the only exception to this being in TV-land, where writing 'sample episodes of your favourite show' is often a way to get noticed by the producers of the show in question.

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Just as an aside Brian, ever thought of tackling a screenplay for Catch 22?

Ah, if only! But, dare I say the catch 22 of that is that if you don't have the rights for something, then writing a screenplay becomes no more than a writing exercise, as nobody will ever read the darn thing!*

(and it's hard enough to get folks to read your stuff as it is! lol)

In that dream world where everybody hangs on my every wish (paging Ms. Diaz...) I do have several projects I would L.O.V.E to re-write / adapt for the big screen. Stuff like, Zulu, The Warriors, Judge Dread, Day of Trifids, Blake's 7, Logan's Run, Camelot 3000 (to name a few). But, ya know...until Spielberg or Sam Raimi start returning my calls, these projects will remain the stuff of fantasy!

*the only exception to this being in TV-land, where writing 'sample episodes of your favourite show' is often a way to get noticed by the producers of the show in question.

Ok brian, Judge dread needs a re-make it was awfull but do you not think zulu and warriors are best of left completly as they are, timeless classics? no affects just great films.. just a question by the way, im not forbing you from doing it, i will just keep forbiding spielberg from call ya back

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Guest Brian M
Ok brian, Judge dread needs a re-make it was awfull but do you not think zulu and warriors are best of left completly as they are, timeless classics? no affects just great films.. just a question by the way, im not forbing you from doing it, i will just keep forbiding spielberg from call ya back

Well, I was a huge comic fan growing up and read the IPC 2000AD comic (where Dredd comes from) and always thought the universe Dredd exists in would make a great film. Though I would've tackled the Four Dark Judges of the Apocalypse story line:

darkjudg.jpg

As for The Warriors (which is being re-done by Walter Hill, so scratch that) my version would've put London in the middle of the football world cup, and would've had stylized hooligans (think the original Warriors meets Clockwork Orange) from around the world decending on the city...all against the backdrop of Muslim terrorism.

Needless to say, the 'Chelsea Headhunters' would be the equivalent of 'The Warriors' of the first film. And, while they would start out being the worst of the worst in regards to the gangs, they would - by the end of the day - be the ones who save the day from the terrorists trying to blow up the world cup final at the New Wembley. A sort of empiric redemption, if you will. A reckoning of sorts when the gangs realize they're fighting all the wrong people, and the stakes at play are much greater than whose colours you're wearing.

As to Zulu. Well, I have a strong kinship with the material and have a detailed treatment for a re-write called 'Rorke's Drift' which I was asked to write back in 2004, by the production company that makes the Harry Potter films. As usual nothing came of it and it's gathering virtual dust in the bottom 'draw' of my computer now. But, it's a fantastic story, that battle. Inspirational and for the most part true (though the amount of Zulus was only about 4-5000 not 20,000 as is commonly believed).

Here's my treatment's overview:

--------------------------------------

RORKE?S DRIFT

?Extraordinary times, require ordinary men.?

LOG-LINE

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, a ?lowly Welsh regiment? stationed at a non-descript Christian Mission in the heart of Africa, must defend itself against the most savage native army ever encountered in the history of the British Empire.

WRITER?S NOTES

In many ways a homage to Hitchcock?s ?Lifeboat?, ?Rorke?s Drift? takes a single battalion of soldiers and maroons them in a sea of enemy warriors; during which time their survival depends as much on battling the fear and paranoia within, as the faceless enemy, without.

Rorke?s Drift has the myriad action beats you would expect from a film centred around one of the most famous battles in British military history. But, Rorke?s Drift is not - in the traditional sense - a ?war film?. Rather it is an intricate dissection of the human condition in crisis.

Told primarily through the eyes of two lowly privates (Fred Hitch and Evan Ieystyn Morris) and two combatant Lieutenants (John Rouse Merriot Chard and Gonville Bromhead), Rorke?s Drift is a study of courage, honor and mate-ship that exalts the mighty Welsh, as ?Braveheart? exalted the Scottish. Demonstrating once and for all, that extraordinary times, require ordinary men?

---------------------------------

And, if you're not too familiar with how significant the battle was, here's the epilogue from my treatment (I had imagined it scrolling up the screen just before the end credits):

EPILOGUE

11 Victoria Crosses ? the highest British military honour ? were awarded to men who fought at the battle of Rorke?s Drift. This being the most VCs ever awarded to a single regiment in a single battle in British military history. Before or since.

The VC Winners

Lieutenant John Rouse Merriott Chard - Royal Engineers

Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

Corporal William Wilson Allen - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

Corporal Ferdinand Christian Schiess ? Natal Native Contingent

Private Frederick (Fred) Hitch - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

Private Henry (Harry) Hook - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

Private Robert Jones - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

Private William Jones - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

Private John Williams Fielding - 24th Regiment Foot B company South Wales Borders

James Henry Reynolds ? Army Medical Department

James Langley Dalton ? Commissariat and Transport Department

Due to the ?Posthumous VC? not being created until 1905, Private Evan Ieystyn Morris was not amongst the recipients?

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If Hollywood retold Rourke's Drift they'd probably have a bunch of cowboys charging over the horizon to save the day at the last minute or something, why let the truth get in they way of a good story.

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Guest Brian M
Isn't that Zulu???? Exactly???

Nope. It's all about whose story you tell.

For example, by your logic, Titanic is a story of a ship hitting an iceberg and sinking, yes?

Well, no. Not if that is merely the backdrop for a tragic story of two (fictional) people meeting during the fateful voyage, falling in love, and - ultimately - failing to live happily ever after. Told that way, 'Titanic' becomes an entirely different film than if - for example - you told it though the eyes of the captain who went down with the ship. Or the leader of the 'big band' that played Abide With Me as the waves crashed over the deck. Or the cowardly owner of the White Star Line who pushed women and children out of the way, in a desperate attempt to get to a lifeboat. (etc)

My take on Zulu would be told through the eyes of two men who shared the lowly rank of private. One that existed. One that did not. These would be used in the film to symbolize the 'everyman' quality of the men fighting. And, because one of the two 'leads' did not exist, I would be free to make him as heroic or cowardly or apathetic as the story required. He would be the narrative glue between all the other pieces of the story, as it were.

The really difficult part with writing is often not what your story is going to be about, but rather WHO your story is going to be about. And how the narrative effects them, specifically. Rather than the guy next to them.

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Ooops - sorry!

The way I see Zulu, which is in my top three films ever (at the moment!) it is mainly told through the POV of the privates, specifically Hook and the bloke who was really a singer!

And anyway, Titanic is the brutal story of an unprovoked attack by a boat load of pikeys on an innocent iceberg going about its floaty business

But I guess you are right - but I still wouldn't change a thing about Zulu though!

Kev

PS - was I a bit rambling there?

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Guest Brian M
Ooops - sorry!

The way I see Zulu, which is in my top three films ever (at the moment!) it is mainly told through the POV of the privates, specifically Hook and the bloke who was really a singer!

And anyway, Titanic is the brutal story of an unprovoked attack by a boat load of pikeys on an innocent iceberg going about its floaty business

But I guess you are right - but I still wouldn't change a thing about Zulu though!

Kev

PS - was I a bit rambling there?

icon_lol.gif No rambling there, Kev!

I agree though, Zulu is a fantastic film. But, I expect if ever God smiled on me so that I was in a position to be hired to re-write it, I probably would be forced to 'up-the stakes' a bit, Hollywood style. Whether I wanted to or not. Sometimes that's bad and sometimes that can actually be good for the film.

Take for example the final battle in Braveheart. In true historical terms, it took place - if memory serves - on a bridge. With a lot less soldiers, than presented by Mel in the film. But, who wants to see a film about a few hundred men fighting on a bridge? It's much more visually satisfying to have it 'epic'. Which is probably why the men at Rorke's Drift are now commonly believed to have fought the 20,000 men under the rule of King Cetshwayo (the ruler of the various native tribes in Zululand). When actually it was another guy - forget his name - who was just sh*tty that he and his 5,000 men had missed out on being involved in the slaughter at Isandlwana (his men were the decoy to split Chelmsford's 2,000 men, so the Zulus could attack from the rear - and consequently they missed out on the blood letting), so he decided to cross the border and attack Rorke's Drift.

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Brian

Do you mean that the Taffies would all have AK47's and the Zulu warriors would be dressed in ghetto clothes and be armed with Mac10's?

Kev

BTW - Zulu was the first time I can remember seeing more than two bare naked lady breasts at the same time

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Guest Brian M
Brian

Do you mean that the Taffies would all have AK47's and the Zulu warriors would be dressed in ghetto clothes and be armed with Mac10's?

Kev

BTW - Zulu was the first time I can remember seeing more than two bare naked lady breasts at the same time

Firstly Kev, if I ever got to write it, it'd be a fairly safe bet that you'd get so many naked hooters you'll be nominating me for a knighthood by the end of it! (I'm thinking a butt nekid Cam Diaz blacked up to look like an African as the movie's opening shot...) 169.gif

And secondly, alas no automatic weapons for the natives. It was bad enough they had rifles (which they'd collected off the dead at Isandlwana)!

Incidentally, here's a bit of trivia you may not know, taken again from my treatment (it concerns the battle at Isandlwana, which took place several hours before the siege of Rorke's Drift began):

By 2.30 p.m. Isandlwana had become a blood gorged monument to Chelmsford?s arrogance, with all but a handful of the 1750 British soldiers, dead or dying. And, in an act of barbarity rarely seen in the annals of military history, Cetshawayo ordered his warriors to disembowel the fallen British soldiers. Whether wounded or dead, their innards were ritualistically exposed to the four winds, as a warning to Frere against further incursions into Cetshawayo?s kingdom.

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A few years a go I read a couple of books on the battles of Isandlwana & Rorke's drift called "Brave men's blood" and "Nothing remains but to fight"., by noted Zulu war historian Ian Knight.

Apparently the disemboweling procedure carried out by the Zulus on the bodies of dead enemies was intended as a bizarre form of respect to a fallen warrior, disemboweling was believed to release the spirit of the warrior from its earthly carcass to enable it to escape to the spirit world. however whether they did this to their own dead or not is another question?

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With due respect, I think Zulu is best left alone. Apart from it being one of the best films of all time, it's also a fond memory. My father took me to see it at the pictures, and I still remember to this day, the display of Zulu shields, spears, British uniforms etc in the foyer.

But if you really must go in for a remake, how about Zulu Dawn? It wasn't that bad a film, but suffered greatly in comparison to the first film.

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Guest Brian M

I think - bit vague here - but I think Zulu Dawn was about the battle before Rorke's Drift.

Also, interesting line of thinking about why the Zulus cut open the dead or dying soldiers. Hadn't heard that, but makes sense. The Zulus are a very proud people by all accounts.

Any other films people would hate (or love) to see remade?

Logan's Run is already getting done, which is a shame as it sounds crap. Because, instead of being 30 and then die, it's apparently now '21'. No doubt to aim at the teenage cinema going demographic, rather than to aim at making a good film.

The Warriors is also being done as I've mentioned elsewhere. But, Walter Hill is re-writing it. (He wrote and directed the original) so I have high hopes that'll rock.

I'd also dearly love to see War of the Worlds done big budget but in turn of the century England. And WITHOUT Tom 'hey, is this a couch I see before me?' Cruise...

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You're right about Zulu Dawn, I forget the name of the battle, but it did actually portray the events that indirectly led to those portrayed in the first Zulu film.

I could be wrong (again), but I suspect the Logan's Run remake will be added to the list of Hollywood atrocities that includes "Get Carter" and "The Italian Job", a couple of classics that should never have been left well alone. I haven't seen the remakes and hopefully will never have the misfortune to have sit through either of them. Generally I'm not into condemning films I haven't seen, or books I haven't read, but in these cases, the clips I've seen and the reviews I've read are more than enough for me.

War of The Worlds was another awful remake, and another film of the same title that bore no real resemblance to Wells' original novel, or so I'm told, having never read the book. So that's got to be a good one to start with - "H.G. Wells' War of The World", taking "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" as precedents.

Edit: Ok, ok I wrote Charles Dickens War of The Worlds. A trick of the brain, trust me!

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Guest Brian M
I could be wrong (again), but I suspect the Logan's Run remake will be added to the list of Hollywood atrocities that includes "Get Carter" and "The Italian Job", a couple of classics that should never have been left well alone.

Agreed. Can anyone say, 'Wicker Man' with Nic Cage... icon_eek.gificon_redface.gificon_eek.gif

PS: talking about Edward Woodward, how great was it to see him in Hot Fuz! Heck, I didn't even know he was still alive! But, there he was, bigger than life and just as good as ever. Used to love him in the re-runs of Callan when I was a nipper. That swinging light! Such a cool show. Always been a fan of the man!

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