This Friday, after years of deal-making, rumor-mongering and star-swapping, 'The Tourist' finally lands with all its European allure in American theaters. By the time Johnny Depp was cast as the lovelorn tourist Frank and Angelina Jolie was cast as the mysterious and stunning Elise, photographers were ready to pounce on the set, releasing photos of Jolie's on-and-off-set moves, which titillated film geeks and fans alike.
Amid all the hype about Jolie and Depp's new movie, however, what most movie-goers may have overlooked is that 'The Tourist' isn't new at all; the original is a 2005 film called 'Anthony Zimmer.' Directed and written by Jerome Salle, it stars Sophie Marceau as the female lead, Chiara, who becomes ensnared in a mysterious plot, and Yvan Attal as the mysterious (and surgically altered) Francois Taillandier. In the new version, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck ('The Lives of Others'), the gender roles are reversed, so that Elise does the hunting and the trapping, while Frank is the unwitting pawn.
Cinematic purists need not worry that the new version will be a total departure from its original: Salle co-wrote the new version of 'The Tourist,' along with by Salle, along with von Donnersmarck and Julian Fellowes, which may infuse it with some of the original's sensibility. Still, while the film may be among the most surprising of this year's second-hand remake releases, it's part of a long-established, American tradition of believing that anything good is worth doing again -- at least once. As Depp and Jolie arrive with their remade tale of international intrigue, Moviefone took a look back at some of the company that their movie keeps in the canon of surprise remakes.
The film's name alone summons the image of Charlton Heston sucking down water from a gourd proffered by Jesus himself. But long before Heston laced up Roman boots for his Oscar-winning role as the titular friend of Christ, Goldwyn-Mayer released 'Ben-Hur' in 1925 as a silent film -- the most expensive ever made -- and cast the popular silent film actor Ramon Novarro as the lead.
'Heaven Can Wait' (1978)
In 1978, Warren Beatty proved he was more than just a pretty face with his directorial debut, 'Heaven Can Wait.' Of course, he was also hunky, so he starred in the comedy as a quarterback whose life is taken too soon by an over-zealous angel, and who is returned to earth in the body of a playboy millionaire. The dimpled star also had an eye for source material: 'Heaven' was based on the 1941 comedy, 'Here Comes Mr. Jordan,' in which Robert Montgomery starred as a boxer killed off too soon.
'Fatal Attraction' (1987)
Who could look at a bunny the same way after a deranged, jealous Glenn Close boils the pet of her lover's (Michael Douglas) daughter? With its psycho-sexual drama and Oscar-nominated performances, director Adrian Lynne broke box-office records and basked in critical acclaim -- but his wasn't, of course, the first iteration of this dangerous liaison. Screenwriter James Dearden got to the bunnies first, with a short film called 'Diversion' that aired on British TV in 1980. Dearden adapted for Lynne's opus seven years later.
'No Way Out' (1987)
A murdered lover. A powerful politician. And one svelte Naval officer caught in the middle, and on a run his for his life, in flattering military whites. Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman and Sean Young were the stars of the sexy action-thriller, 'No Way Out.' But no matter how well Costner was able to sport a uniform, he was preceded by Ray Milland, who starred in the original version of the film, 'The Big Clock,' as a journalist who is similarly targeted in a cover-up scheme.
Brian De Palma's story of an exiled Cuban immigrant (Al Pacino) who rises to the top of the Miami mob has developed a cultish following since its release nearly 30 years ago, inspiring everything from a video game to a comic series and even a 'South Park' parody. And while the film's fans may not know about its origins, De Palma paid homage to his forebears, dedicating the movie to the director and screenwriter of the original 'Scarface,' which was released in 1932.
'Man on Fire' (2004)
In Tony Scott's 2004 version, Denzel Washington plays a heavy-hearted, former assassin-turned-bodyguard with a taste for booze. He literally sets Mexico City on fire to find the daughter (Dakota Fanning) of the family that he protects, finding some redemption amid all the ashes. In French writer/director Elie Chouraqui's original in 1987, the bodyguard was a Vietnam vet with arguably more worries to drink away. While Chouraqui's has been said to be a more nuanced movie than Scott's shoot-em-up approach, Scott's version did well with audiences, earning more than $130 million worldwide.
'The Champ' (1979)
With Jon Voight as a buff ex-boxer looking to make a comeback and support his young son, a nine-year-old Rick Schroeder as the young son, and Faye Dunaway as the estranged mom who reappears, director Franco Zeffirelli had a winning combo. But his work was --you guessed it -- a redux of the 1931 original, directed by King Vidor. That version quickly rose to cinematic stature, touted as a precedent for any future films that would feature adult and child actors, and praised for its convincing depiction of a washed-up man and his path to redemption.