There’s a short announcement story in the Hollywood Reporter that the prolific and increasingly appreciated writer J. Michael Straczynski will be writing a “Forbidden Planet” remake for Warner Bros. and Joel Silver. Straczynski (the creator and executive producer of “Babylon 5” but a guy with a resume in radio, comics and the stage as well) is the latest name to be attached to a remake effort that has bopped around to different corners of Hollywood without much traction (James Cameron was even involved at one point, I believe). But now that “War of the Worlds” did so well and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is stirring advance interest, it’s not surprising to see another classic gem of sci-fi cinema get a 21st century redux.
The 1956 original took Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” into outer space, so there is certainly a core story there that can be retrofitted. It was directed by Fred Wilcox (who also did “Lassie Come Home”), starred a mysterious Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and a straight-faced Leslie Nielsen as well as that truly iconic sci-fi persona, Robby the Robot. He would go on to appear in a long list of television shows: “Lost in Space,” of course, but also “The Twilight Zone,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “”The Addams Family,” “Mork & Mindy,” “Wonder Woman,” “Columbo” and on and on…
Here’s a pretty great YouTube revisitation of the original film’s trailer that has been edited and reworked with some music that amps up the drama. Good stuff.
– Geoff Boucher