Monday, October 30, 2006

Withnail & I On Stage? Another Long Good Friday? Time Bandits Remake? What Other Horrors Await Us?

Handmade Films produced the majority of the best British films of the 80s but has long since been dormant. After a series of early money spinners, Beatle bum George Harrison actually ended up losing a fistful of money, then sued his partner Dennis O'Brien, and, finally, in 1992 sold the company off to one Patrick Meehan. Soon, Handmade stalled and all we've seen with that lovely logo lately is a endless stream of reissued titles on double, triple and quadruple dip DVD releases - typically through Anchor Bay.

Recently though, Meehan has given the company a big cash injection (for a little more on how he did this, bizheads, there's an article in Variety) and now, he's intending to spend it by revisiting some of the most beloved Handmade creations.

There's a sequel to The Long Good Friday on the cards; Withnail & I is due to become a stage show, though hopefully not a musical; Time Bandits is getting remade -

- HANG ON...

Time Bandits is getting remade? That's terrible news, surely? How could a rehash even come close to the unfettered invention and ingenuity of the original?

It appears that at the moment, Terry Gilliam has not been involved, and should he somehow become involved, I wouldn't bank on it being as a director. Nor would I expect Michael Palin, Gilliam's collaborator on the original script, to make any kind of a showing. Portents of doom abound.

Gilliam has talked a lot lately, on an 18-month Brothers Grimm and Tideland tour, and often he's talked about the various projects he's been trying to get off the ground - and the only time the Bandits haver ever come up was in reference to a sequel, not a remake. As Meehan is planning a retread and not a follow-up, it might be reasonable to assume he only owns some of the rights? Or maybe he's utterly lacking in imagination and thinks a sequel would have less commercial viability? Seeing as there's a sequel script by Gilliam and Charles McKeown already out there (though it maybe headed to Virgin comics before the silver screen), Meehan might do well to reconsider his plan and stump up the cash for this to be produced instead.

Whatever happens next, I think the film buff community is going to be breathing down the neck of this relaunched Handmade films, keeping a close eye on how such beloved properties might be getting betrayed - but, oh, if only that would ever be enough to stop Meehan doing anything stupid.

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