While it gets harder to remember with each passing decade he spends in obscurity, there was once a time when Brian De Palma was one of the most highly regarded directors in Hollywood. The critics who labeled him an Alfred Hitchcock ripoff notwithstanding, De Palma’s films were seen as a pretty sure bet throughout the 70’s and 80’s, a period that produced such classic hits as Carrie, Scarface, and The Untouchables. Another critical darling De Palma directed during that era was Body Double, a 1984 suspense thriller starring Craig Wasson (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors).
Body Double’s plot concerned a struggling actor named Jake Scully (Wasson), whose claustrophobia has just cost him a gig in a vampire flick. As if getting fired wasn’t bad enough, Scully goes home to find his girlfriend cheating on him, and ends up without anywhere to stay. At an acting class, Scully encounters a seemingly kind man named Sam, who soon offers the displaced thespian a place to stay in the Hollywood Hills. The house is quite nice, but comes with one odd but welcome feature: a sexy female neighbor who likes to dance sans clothing in full view at the same time every night. To reveal much more would risk spoiling the film, but suffice to say Scully gets a bit too obsessed with his lust object’s personal life, and things eventually take a turn for the fatal.
Body Double didn’t exactly the set the box office on fire, but was a hit with critics, and was renowned for pushing the boundaries of sexuality in a mainstream Hollywood film. With that in mind, filmmaker and VFX artist Anthony Scott Burns really wants to remake the movie for modern audiences, and he laid out his reasons why on the latest episode of Adi Shankar’s Bootleg Universe Pitch Show.
Besides his clear love for the film, Burns says that he wants to remake Body Double primarily as a vehicle to expand the sexual horizons of mainstream cinema once again. After all, American attitudes toward sexuality have changed quite a bit in the 30-plus years since Body Double hit theaters, with perhaps the biggest difference being the easy and constant access modern internet users have to hardcore pornography. Burns thinks it a bit strange that Hollywood sex scenes are still by and large more about the tease than anything, and thinks that today’s audiences would be intrigued by the idea of a actual movie that features a well done, suspenseful plot but also pushes the boundaries of what even NC-17 American films will allow.
On that front, Burns proposes an idea many are likely to find quite radical: a full-penetration sex scene that includes an A-list female star. Of course, given the conceit of Body Double’s twisty plot, Burns acknowledges that it wouldn’t actually be the actress herself performing the act, but instead a body double with the star’s face plastered on via CGI. Still, Burns says that today’s tech could accomplish it in a way where audiences would never know the difference unless they were told. Another modern touch Burns would incorporate would be the use of webcams for the scenes of voyeurism, since telescopes aren’t exactly common household items at this point.
As far as casting goes, Burns suggests Shia LaBeouf for the Scully role, and Scarlett Johansson for his object of desire. Even if Burns could somehow get this project moving, he’s probably aiming too high in expecting one of the most high profile actresses in the world to agree to participate in such a potentially risky project. While it’s true that Johansson has appeared nude on film before, agreeing to even pretend to have hardcore sex on camera would likely not bode well for the chances of her continued employment in the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe. As for the increasingly enigmatic LaBeouf, he’d probably do it just for the challenge and/or the attention.
Could a Body Double remake happen? Sure. Everything seems to be being remade these days. Is any studio likely to take Burns’ specific idea seriously? Probably not. Hollywood just isn’t there yet.
Source: Adi Shankar