As the big man himself gets set for a [second] comeback, winning raves and stirring up awards buzz for his role in Adam Rifkin’s upcoming “Dog Years”, Hollywood seems determined to milk the Burt Reynolds back catalogue.
While we’ve already seen middling, mostly forgettable remakes of Burt-classics “Mean Machine” and “Heat” (see : Jason Statham starrer “Wild Card”), Warner Bros are out to re-fry a bigger fish : ’80s classic “Cannonball Run”. The 1981 film, which teamed Reynolds with some of the biggest names of the Reagan-era (including Frank Sinatra, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dom DeLuise), spawned two sequels and gave Reynolds another money-making franchise alongside “Smokey and the Bandit”.
This isn’t the first time Tinseltown has tried to revamp the classic series, with Guy Ritchie and Brad Pitt involved in a resuscitation attempt a few years ago, and more recently, Etan Coen (“Get Hard”) briefly attached to direct a version.
Suggesting that the remake might also be part-sequel (aren’t they all these days?), Warner Bros hasn’t just acquired the remake rights but all sequel rights – from Brock Yates, the Hal Needham Estate, and Fortune Star LTD – in the “Cannonball” series.
Rawson Thurber, of “Central Intelligence” and “Dodgeball” fame, will direct.
The series is well-known for it’s ensemble all-star line-up so it’s almost a given that Thurber will try and recruit Reynolds for a cameo or supporting role. We might also expect- considering he’s worked with them in the past- that Hollywood luminaries Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Jason Bateman might get an invite to participate in the great race. with Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant, of “Reno 911” fame, in talks to script the film, expect the two to also pop up on-screen.
Hopefully that iconic theme tune makes a return…