After making his critically acclaimed directorial debut with classic submarine movie Das Boot in 1981, Wolfgang Petersen became one of the most highly sought filmmakers in the world. He made the transition from Euro-cinema to Hollywood with ease, first with a couple lesser-known but still well regarded feature films, before becoming Tinsel Town’s go-to guy for big budget blockbusters in the 80’s/90’s. The two-time Oscar nominated director’s filmography for the time is enough to make any filmmaker jealous: The NeverEnding Story, In the Line of Fire, Outbreak, Air Force One, The Perfect Storm and Troy. Even when his films weren’t received as well critically (which happened rarely), they were always huge commercial successes.
That was until 2006’s Poseidon, Petersen’s remake of the eight-time Oscar nominated original 1972 classic The Poseidon Adventure. Not only was the film slated by critics (it was nominated at the Razzies for Worst Remake or Ripoff) but it was a colossal box office failure. And Wolfgang Petersen was promptly never heard from again.
I have no idea what the 74-year old Petersen has been up to since then – drowning his sorrows in a Bavarian beer hall maybe, cursing stupid movies about capsized cruise ships around a mouthful of schnitzel and sauerkraut – but the most important thing is this: He’s back! And he’s doing another remake of a 1970’s movie… (oh, wait)…. which he initially directed!
Screen Daily is reporting that Petersen has signed on to do a remake of his own 1976 German TV movie named Vier Gegen die Bank (aka Four Against the Bank) which itself was an adaptation of the 1972 novel “The Nixon Recession Caper” by Ralph Maloney. The original told the story of “four members of an exclusive country club who decide to rob a bank to solve their money problems.” Here’s the blurb for the book:
Four men of substance, all living the glossy life of Connecticut exurbanites, suddenly find themselves jobless and moneyless. What to do? Since it’s a bigger disgrace to be broke in this town than to be crooked, the obvious solution is to rob a bank.
This new modern version is yet to get a title, but Petersen has already lined up his four actors in the forms of top German talents Til Schweiger, Matthias Schweighofer, Michael ‘Bully’ Herbig and Jan Josef Liefers. This marks the first time since Das Boot that Petersen is making a German-language film and the first time in 30 years that he is mounting a production in his home country again. Warner Bros – who also produced Poseidon – are currently on board to co-produce the crime caper with German production house Hellinger Doll Filmproduktion.
There’s no word yet on a release date, but I will definitely be keeping my ear to the ground on this one. The last time a once highly regarded veteran action director got back into the swing of things again, we got George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Yes, there doesn’t appear to be much place in this script for blind flamethrow-guitar playing, speaker-truck riding maniacs (and really, every movie should have one), but a new Wolfgang Petersen movie is still a big deal.
Last Updated: October 30, 2015