Mad Mel Set To Go Wild

October 2, 2018
Australia’s alternatively favourite and least favourite adopted son might just be saddling up to remake Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. Let’s go…

The Passion Of The Christ, Apocalypto, Hacksaw Ridge…as a director, Mel Gibson has made a very strange habit out of finding success where most pundits predicted abject failure. He’s a bold envelope pusher with a winning way with on-screen violence, so Gibbo’s next project should fit like a glove. It does, however, veer dangerously close to sacrilege territory. According to Variety, Mad Mel intends to remake Sam Peckinpah’s classic 1969 western, The Wild Bunch, the bullet-riddled, blood-drenched masterpiece that (along with Arthur Penn’s equally majestic Bonnie & Clyde) redefined cinematic violence, and changed Hollywood forever. Though cast announcements have not been made, Gibbo will likely star as one of the film’s ageing outlaws, and will also pen the screenplay (adapted from Peckinpah and Walon Green’s original) alongside Bryan Bagby (the little seen sci-fi flick, L.I.N.X). No start date has been announced, and Gibbo also has another project – the WW2 epic, Destroyer, with Mark Wahlberg attached – in development, so we likely won’t be seeing the director’s take on Peckinpah’s classic anytime soon.

But many, it would seem, would prefer not to see it at all. “What a TERRIBE idea,” screamed writer (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) and director (American Gigolo, Affliction), Paul Schrader, on his Facebook page…yes, Paul Schrader is on Facey. “This ranks with the Casablanca remake or, God forbid, a Taxi Driver remake.” The replies to his post are equally derisive, with actor, Stephen Lang (Avatar, Last Exit To Brooklyn), savaging the proposed production. “A prequel…okay, I could get behind that,” he says. “So much history between Pike and Thornton. But a remake? C’mon, dude, it’s a top 3 Western, possibly number 1. And one of the top 20 films all time. Leave it alone.” Oscar nominee, Sally Kirkland (Anna), is more to-the-point. “Right on, Paul,” she says. While we have our doubts (LOTS of them), Mel has certainly pulled it out of the fire before, so we’ll just have to wait and see…

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