As Hollywood looks with fear and suspicion at anything remotely resembling an original idea, yet another classic falls into the remake (or rather: re-adaptation) vortex. A new version of the harrowing World War I saga All Quiet on the Western Front will come to the big screen from the hands of The November Man director Roger Donaldson.
Coming off of his last spy thriller with Pierce Brosnan, Donaldson has signed on to direct the latest version of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel about young German soldiers on the Western Front. From early wartime fervor to a disturbing, visceral depiction of the horrors of trench warfare, All Quiet on the Western Front is both a staple in high school classrooms and, yes, a bonafide classic. It was first made into a film in 1930, starring Lew Ayres, as a passionate anti-war story. The book, by the way, was one of the many banned and burned in Nazi Germany.
Can we really call this latest adaptation a proper remake? Remarque’s story is a novel first, of course, but the original film is so iconic that it’s very hard to divide it from any subsequent adaptation. The same might be said for MGM’s attempt to make a new version of Ben-Hur: another adaptation from a novel that is best known as a film.
This new version of All Quiet on the Western Front has been kicking around since 2010, when it was rumored that Daniel Radcliffe was attached to the lead role. We can assume that Radcliffe is no longer a part of this project, though it would be a good part for him. Now that a director is in place, we can expect to hear more about casting news as the film goes into production. As always, we’ll keep an ear to the ground and let you know any news when we do.