Remakes/reboots are really just business as usual for Hollywood, but in recent years it’s become especially fashionable to revamp films, movie franchises, and/or properties that were born in the 1980s (The Karate Kid, Fright Night, 21 Jump Street, and so forth). It’s been a few years since last we had anything to report about MGM’s planned re-imaging of another ’80s child in WarGames, but today we can offer you a significant update in the form of reports about the project getting a new director and writer (along with an idea of who’s being eyed to headline the film).
The 1983 iteration of WarGames, for those unfamiliar, revolves around a teen computer expert (Matthew Broderick) who inadvertently begins playing a game with a secret U.S. military super-computer – a mistake that could lead to the start of WWIII. Director John Badham’s film was a financial hit that proved generally popular among critics (earning three Oscar nods, including one for screenwriting), while also successfully tapping into Cold War fears and concerns about the possible dangers of computers at the time.
A modernized take on WarGames could very much be something worth everyone’s time from a creative perspective, assuming that the filmmakers involved take an intelligent and thoughtful approach – one that includes accounting for thirty years of changes in computer technology. (One just hopes that the moviemakers understand the Internet better than the folk who worked on Transcendence apparently did, anyway.)
Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief) was attached to helm the WarGames remake a few years back, but the latest from Deadline reveals that Dean Israelite – the director whose feature debut, time-travel/found-footage Project Almanac, arrives in 2015 – is finishing a deal that will see him call the shots, while drawing from a fresh script draft by Arah Amel (Grace of Monaco). The Wrap is reporting the same thing, along with an actor shortlist that includes Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) and Tye Sheridan (Mud).
It might be that the WarGames remake was shaping up as more of a satire/comedy back when Gordon was onboard as director, but that the plan has since changed – and now, Israelite and Amel are collaborating on a more dramatic treatment of the original low sci-fi premise. Either way, if Project Almanac prove to be an inventive addition to the found-footage sub-genre (not a Chronicle knockoff, as the trailer suggested back when the film was called Welcome to Yesterday), then a WarGames re-telling with him at the helm will indeed be something worth getting excited about.
As for the current actor shortlist, both Elgort and Sheridan are rising stars, having broken out with turns in intimate, dramatic, fare. Sheridan has been showered with acclaim for his raw performances in the gritty films Mud and Joe, while Elgort’s charismatic turn in Fault in Our Stars (read our review) has begun to earn him a loyal following. Elgort is arguably the more obvious choice to star in WarGames based on his previous work, but either actor would be a solid choice really.
We’ll keep you posted on developments concerning the WarGames remake.