Starman, the sci-fi romance film starring Karen Allen (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) and Jeff Bridges (TRON: Legacy), was more a critical success than a financial one when it premiered in 1984. Focusing more on the bond between the two lead characters than special effects, the movie earned Bridges an Oscar nomination for his performance.
Allen starred as Jenny Hayden, a woman who encounters a crash-landed alien who has assumed the identity of her dead husband. He kidnaps her and forces her to take him to the rendezvous point for his extraterrestrial rescue party. Bridges’ “Starman” turns out to be a peaceful being, however, and romance blossoms between the two as they elude government officials who want to capture and dissect the visiting alien they shot out of the sky.
Now it looks like we’ll be getting a modern-day version of that story. THR reports that Michael Douglas, who produced the original film, has teamed up with director Shawn Levy (Real Steel) for the Starman remake. The script will be penned by Arash Amel, who wrote the screenplay for the Nicole Kidman-headlined Grace of Monaco, and upcoming sci-fi adventure The Titan.
The ’80s Starman was in limbo for years due to its perceived similarity to blockbuster E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. With multiple writers contributing to the script and several directors onboard before thriller/horror director John Carpenter signed on, the project had seemed doomed. The surprising end result was a film that, despite its corny “fall in love overnight” premise, still holds up today as an enjoyable and moving story.
The original succeeded largely due to the acting performances, so the reboot will hopefully find two new leads that can make this drama believable. Director Levy has some experience with sci-fi and drama with his work on Real Steel, but his largely comedic resume (including the Night at the Museum franchise) doesn’t seem a natural fit for a moving romance. There is potential, of course, for the new film to capitalize on the quirky elements of an alien-on-earth story that were also evident in the original. Carpenter hadn’t seemed the obvious choice in 1984, either, but he deftly showed he had more range than just the genre he’s known for.
In the current landscape of action reboots, remakes, and revivals, Starman is a bit of an unexpected choice for resurrection. It will be interesting to see if the modern version stays largely true to the source material or offers some new spin on the story. The 1984 movie actually left the door open for a sequel, since Jenny was due to have a half-alien son, so it’s possible that Columbia Pictures is hoping for a multi-film deal if the first one does well at the box office.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further news on Starman as it becomes available.