One of the big tickets at Cannes this week is Cliffhanger, a ‘requel’ (as one character in Scream VI describes films that are part sequel, part remake) to the 1993 blockbuster that sees Sylvester Stallone reprising his role as mountain-scaler Gabe Walker.
The new film, directed by Ric Roman Waugh, will reportedly see Walker teaming up with his daughter, also a mountain climber – to flee terrorists or rogues of some sort.
Talking to Collider, Waugh says what interested he and Sly about doing a Cliffhanger follow-up is how slick it could look now thanks to advances in technology.
“What Sly and I talked about, and he was the first one to bring it up, is the challenges of what was made in 1993 with the technology of then, our technology now, we’re gonna take it to a whole other level. Not only visually what we’re gonna do, but sonically, the sound design that wasn’t there in the early ‘90s. What we can do now with sound design, we’re gonna put you on the edge of that 1000-foot cliff, when your fingernails are hanging on to a ledge the size of a penny, when you hear a boulder fly past your head and go to infinity, and your heart beats reverberating off the rocks. I wanna play with the sound design and the jeopardy the way that so many of the movies now, I feel like, just because VFX is there. And now we’re talking about AI and everything else. It’s just becoming more and more fake, and there’s a lot of room for that. I’m okay watching a movie where a car flies out of a plane at 30,000 feet, lands on its wheels, and keeps going in my movie.”
In the film, “Stallone’s character will be, of the age he is now – Gabe Walker – he’s got a daughter, he’s got an heir apparent, pseudo son, and they have a mountaineering company, Italian Alps. Tragedy strikes that’s very similar to what happened in the original movie, so that father and daughter have to deal with that and how to overcome tragedy. How do we get through traumatic experiences and fight to move forward? It’s what extreme sports like climbing are all about. And of course, there might be some nefarious bad guys that show up in the Italian Alps, and all hell breaks loose.”
The filmmaker is planning for the film to be a big theatrical release – just as the original was – that can hold it’s own against the superhero fare.
“I think that these are the movies that, I’ve said before, we need to, especially me being a fan of these types of action movies, they used to drive our box office, they used to be the one that we’d figure out which was gonna be number one on the weekend. And we’re kind of the underdogs now, and I think it’s really important that we embrace that and understand it, that we need to get our butts back at the theater so we’re not just seeing the big animated movies, and not the big Marvel, and the big 2, $300 million tentpole movies. But these adult-driven action movies, they could be a dying breed and then end up on streaming, and that would be a crying shame. So I’m hoping people will support Kandahar and Cliffhanger, and the other things that we’ve got coming out, and everybody else’s movies that are in this part of the woods because they’re important, they could be a dying breed, for sure.”