Today, the news came down that Robert Zemeckis, one of the more under appreciated great directors in Hollywood history, said a remake of his iconic 1985 film Back to The Future would happen “over [his] dead body.” The response to the very idea of remaking something as singularly influential as Back to The Future would not only be ill advised for Hollywood, but may spell doom for several films considered untouchable by the tentacles of the remake monster. Hollywood needs more like Robert Zemeckis.
In his interview with The Telegraph, Zemeckis was straight forward in his dismissal of such a terrible idea, and also pointed to the very tangible legal hurdles that would be in the way of a Back to The Future remake. “That (remake) can’t happen until both Bob and I are dead. And then I’m sure they’ll do it, unless there’s a way our estates can stop it.” Zemeckis also assured that neither he or the aforementioned Bob Gale, co-writer, would never sign off on such an absurd idea.
“I mean, to me, that’s outrageous,” he said. “Especially since it’s a good movie. It’s like saying ‘Let’s remake Citizen Kane. Who are we going to get to play Kane?’ What folly, what insanity is that? Why would anyone do that?”
This is one of the better bits of news coming from the stale remake and sequel factory of Hollywood these days. It is comforting to know that one of my formative childhood films, one that stands the test of time, will not be sullied by some hackneyed, slapdash Hollywood cash grab. There are a great number of personal films I would hate to see remade, maybe that is for another segment, but Back to The Future will forever be on this list. If it were remade, what would stop short-sighted studio execs from green-lighting a Jaws remake? A Dog Day Afternoon remake? The Godfather for 2021? It could open a floodgate that may not be stopped because, yes, cinephiles do include BTTF in the conversation with those other great films I have mentioned.
I only wish more people in Hollywood thought like Robert Zemeckis.