Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Jack Nicholson and Kristen Wiig to star in American remake of Oscar-nominated 'Toni Erdmann'

It's hard to admit, but we're reaching a point where many of the great actors of the 1960s and 70s are heading off into the sunset, either due to retirement, poor film choices, or health issues. Gene Hackman called it quits early in the 2000s and Robert Redford's final film will hit theaters later this year, while actors like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro work their way through all kinds of cinematic atrocities (thankfully, The Irishman is coming soon). Until very recently, Jack Nicholson was thought to be retired for good. While the iconic actor made great appearances during the 2000s in films like The Departed and About Schmidt, his last role was 2010's How Do You Know, which wasn't well received or widely seen. Even as recently as this month, friends of Nicholson commented that he was pretty much retired from acting. It appears that they spoke just a little too soon- Jack is coming back, and he's taking on a role that is practically perfect for him.

Nicholson will be starring in the American remake of Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade's comedy epic that took the cinematic world by storm in 2016. This was exclusively reported by Variety, who followed up their initial report with the news that Kristen Wiig has also joined the cast of the film, which will be distributed by Paramount. While I'm sure the names will be Americanized in some way, Nicholson will be playing Winfried Conradi, who dons a wig and false teeth to become Toni Erdmann. Wiig will be playing Ines, the long-suffering daughter of Winfried who can't handle his prank-loving nature. No director has been announced yet, but names like Kelly Fremon Craig and even Ade herself have been thrown out. 

It feels odd to announce that an American remake of Toni Erdmann is coming, even though the majority of the country hasn't gotten the chance to see the movie. But as one of the lucky few who has seen Ade's comedy classic (I caught the film in Toronto- read my review here), I couldn't be more excited to see this remake. Sure, the fears are valid- it'll be hard to top the epic audacity of the German film, which is up for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Erdmann is a distinctly European piece of cinema, and the comedy goes in some bold directions that will be raunchy even by the standards of American humor. But when you have Nicholson returning for his first role in 7 years, you have the potential for something really special. And even though I'm not the biggest fan of Kristen Wiig, I can see her working in this role. This is an idea that just works, and if the studio maintains the irreverent, awkward spirit of Ade's version (while probably cutting down on the length), the American version of Toni Erdmann will be nothing short of spectacular. Look for more word on this in the future, as it seems like the film is on the fast track to production. 

Image Credits: IMDB

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