Robert Downey Jr. might lead remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo


Hollywood will go a long way to avoid having to come up with a new idea, and the studios’ appetite for remaking anything — seriously, anything — in their content libraries that has name recognition is currently reaching new heights. It doesn’t matter how untouchably iconic the original movie might be; if people remember it in any way, it’s grist for the content mill.

So it is that we’re currently awaiting series adaptations of such varied classics as Fatal Attraction, The Day of the Jackal, Metropolis, and Dead Ringers, and theatrical reworkings of Bullitt (from Steven Spielberg, no less), Nosferatu, and even quintessential 1980s Patrick Swayze actioner Road House. Is nothing sacred?

Clearly not: According to Deadline, Paramount is lining up Robert Downey Jr. to star in a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo. Vertigo, which stars James Stewart as a retired police detective who becomes obsessed with a woman (Kim Novak) he is hired to follow, is often seen hanging out with Citizen Kane at the top of lists of the greatest films of all time. (Indeed, it won the 2012 Sight and Sound poll, breaking Kane’s five-decade run at the top.)

Downey Jr.’s Team Downey production company (Perry Mason, Sweet Tooth) will produce. The script will be written by the indefatigable Steven Knight, the Peaky Blinders creator (and one of the inventors of the game show format, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). Knight was also recently recruited to write a Star Wars movie after the departure of The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof. Knight is a hugely prolific screenwriter known for his willingness to turn his hand to almost any subject: His credits include the David Cronenberg thriller Eastern Promises, the oddball Princess Diana biopic Spencer, Apple’s sci-fi Jason Momoa vehicle See, a new TV adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, and the ludicrous, so-bad-it’s-good mystery Serenity, which he directed himself. Knight will have a tricky needle to thread in updating Vertigo, a film known for its complicated relationship with the male gaze, for modern audiences.

Oddly, the Vertigo remake won’t be the first official spinoff the Hitchcock film has had in the 65 years since its release. That honor goes to, of all things, a video game: the clunky 2021 Spanish-made adventure game Alfred Hitchcock — Vertigo, which featured a completely different plot, only loosely inspired by the classic movie.

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