The planned Cannonball Run remake being set up at Warner Bros. will be Fast and the Furious meets Ocean's 11, says the movie's director Rawson Thurber. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (Night at the Museum) are set to write the script for the modern-day update of the wacky 1981 all-star action-comedy about an anarchic cross-country road race.
Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Chan and many others provided the star power for the original Cannonball Run, directed by the legendary filmmaker/stunt coordinator Hal Needham. Most of the major players came back for the 1984 sequel Cannonball Run II, but by the time Cannonball Run III (aka Speed Zone) rolled around in 1989 most of the stars, the director and the vast majority of the series' fans had jumped ship.
Warner Bros. is now planning to resurrect Cannonball Run and director Rawson Thurber, who is currently attached to the project, says we can expect the remake to combine elements of racing films and heist movies. Thurber said in an interview with Slashfilm:
"I think we’re living in a post or current Fast and Furious world. So I don’t think Cannonball can out-Fast and Furious the Fast and the Furious. That’s its own thing, but we definitely want to harness that with the fun of Oceans 11 and put those together. It’ll have to be a different thing than Fast, but should have some great car action, obviously."
No casting announcements have been made for the new Cannonball Run but it's worth noting that Thurber has a tight relationship with Dwayne Johnson, who starred in Central Intelligence for the director and is working with Thurber again on the action film Skyscraper. Landing Johnson as the star would go a long way toward securing Cannonball Run a new audience, since most young movie fans are unlikely to be aware of the original films (unless they spend a lot of time with their parents' old dusty VHS collection). George Clooney and Guy Ritchie were at one point circling the project but obviously both moved on to other endeavors.
The original Cannonball Run movies may not be considered huge pop culture landmarks today, but the basic premise of the films - a bunch of famous actors get into all sorts of crazy adventures during a cross-country race - is the sort of thing that could work again if handled in just the right way. The original movies were comedic of course but the presence of Needham as director also guaranteed there would be legitimate stunts and action along the way. Fusing the fast-cars fetishism of Fast and the Furious, a series Needham himself would have been a perfect director for, with the buddy-criminal spirit of Ocean's 11 sounds like an intriguing way to approach bringing Cannonball Run back to the screen.