Jack Nicholson Returns to Acting Alongside Kristen Wiig in ‘Toni Erdmann’ Remake

Hollywood loves a good remake. More will come out this year than ever before, and that trend isn’t going to die anytime soon. They’re even remaking 2016 films! Paramount Pictures announced they’ll soon remake the Oscar-nominated Germany comedy Toni Erdmann for English-speaking audiences. But they have an ace in the hole. In addition to grabbing Kristen Wiig for the female lead, Jack Nicholson will provide his first acting performance in nearly a decade. Forget about that retirement nonsense. Jack is back!

Variety got the exclusive. Maren Ade, the writer/director behind the original 2 1/2 hour film, serves as an executive producer alongside fellow producers Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Jonas Dornbach and Janine Jackowski. But she won’t write or direct this time. Instead, it’s unclear who’ll tackle the new version, although Alexander Payne’s name is currently floating around on the Internet. It makes sense. He directed Nicholson in About Schmidt, which might still be his best performance, while Wiig recently starred in Payne’s latest, Downsizing, which is presently in post-production and expected to be released this year.

The original 2016 film followed the misadventures of a stern, hard-working businesswoman (Sandra Huller) who finds her practical joker father (Peter Simonischek) returning unexpectedly (and unwelcomed) into her life to reconnect. It doesn’t help that he created an outrageous alter ego named Toni Erdmann, who poses as her CEO’s life coach. It’s nominated for Best Foreign Film during this year’s Oscars, and it was also nominated for Best Foreign Film during the Golden Globes in January. There’s a solid chance it might win the Oscar. It’s currently playing in limited release in select cities nationwide as we speak.

Dysfunctional family dramedies are in Payne’s wheelhouse, which makes his involvement more inviting. But there is no one currently attached at this time. It’s also unclear when it plans to get into production, and when it hopes to be released. There are other questions as well. Will it keep the extended running time? Likely not. Will it go for Oscar love or is it going to play it broad and wild? McKay and Ferrell have experience in both fields. Will the comedy feature the controversial elongated nude scene that was key to the original? Who knows? Hollywood can be prickly when it comes to nudity — especially when it’s extensive. There are a lot of unanswered questions at the moment, but expect some answers soon.

It was only last month when Nicholson announced his retirement. So much for that. Nicholson reportedly loved the original film, which made him reach out to Paramount’s Brad Grey regarding a potential remake. They immediately jumped towards grabbing the rights. There’s a good chance this one might, in all honesty, become his swan song performance. He turned down 42 and The Judge in the recent past, but this one spoke to him, it seems.

I’m hoping to see the acclaimed original in the next week or so. Expect to find a review.

Will Ashton
Will Ashton
Will Ashton bleeds his pen to CutPrintFilm, The Playlist, MovieBoozer, We Got This Covered and beyond. One day, he'll become Jack Burton. You wait and see, buddy boy.