Remakes are always a tricky proposition in the pre-production phase of filmmaking; attempting to balance the need to tell a new story with showing respect to the original work that, in most cases, is iconic or beloved enough to have warranted remaking in the first place. Often, remakes will recruit actors and/or filmmakers associated with the original in order to offer a tangible link to the version that audiences remember best.
Sometimes, the people behind the original film will be part of the remake's actual production; other times, they simply offer their blessing and assuage the concerns of devoted fans. Director John Carpenter has now clarified his involvement with the developing remake of his own film, Big Trouble in Little China - and his answer isn't likely to make fans happy.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson offered many fans of Big Trouble in Little China a ray of a hope amidst their unease at his intent to star in a remake of the film by stating that he wants Carpenter - who directed the cult-classic original film starring Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun, Kim Cattrall and Jame Hong - to join the production. As part of an interview with Screen Rant to promote the comic book crossover miniseries Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York, Carpenter was asked if anything concrete has come of this:
Screen Rant: There’s definitely been a lot of renewed interest in both properties, not just in comics. We’re also hearing about a remake of Big Trouble in Little China, with The Rock…
John Carpenter: [laughs] I know! It might be crazy… it might be great! I don’t know. Nobody’s told me anything. No one tells me anything [laughs]
Screen Rant: That’s unfortunate to hear. The Rock had said, supposedly, that he was interested in having you involved in some way – but there’s been no outreach so far?
John Carpenter: No. No one’s talked to me about it. Haven’t heard a thing!
Screen Rant: That’s very interesting.
John Carpenter: Yeah – isn’t it great?
This news no doubt comes as a disappointment to fans hoping for Carpenter to be involved with the Big Trouble in Little China remake (assuming the project actually moves forward). However, it's worth noting that any discussions of this nature will likely have occurred between The Rock and Carpenter's management agencies before word reaches either of them personally. Carpenter has been listed as an executive producer on the remakes of his films Halloween and The Fog, but has been open about such titles often being largely ceremonial - and he's even been critical of the resulting films.
Big Trouble in Little China Kurt Russell as big-talking wannabe tough-guy trucker Jack Burton, who becomes involved in a Chinatown gang war that is being manipulated by a centuries-old undead Chinese sorcerer. While not a box office hit on its intial release, it has since been reappraised as one of Carpenter's best films and a cult-classic that has influenced everything from the Mortal Kombat video games to many modern comic book and superhero films. The premise of the proposed remake (and Johnson's role therein) is not known at this time.
Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #1 is now on sale from Boom! Studios. Stay tuned for Screen Rant's full interview with Carpenter and comic writer Greg Pak!