Paramount Working on “Vertigo” Remake With Robert Downey Jr. as Potential Star
One of the most beloved, critically acclaimed films of all time is getting a remake.
Paramount Pictures is working on a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo, and Robert Downey Jr. is circling the lead role played by James Stewart in the original. Downey Jr. is producing the film alongside his wife, Susan Downey, with John Davis and John Fox onboard as their producing partners. What’s more, the remake will be written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, marking the second time this week the talented scribe has been in the news—he’s also been tapped by Lucasfilm to pen an upcoming Star Wars feature.
Downey Jr. hasn’t been seeking the spotlight much since he starred in 2019’s mammoth blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, followed by 2020’s Dolittle. He does have one big role in one of the year’s most hotly-anticipated upcoming films, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, but other than that, he’s been fairly quiet for a superstar.
Hitchcock’s Vertigo was inspired by the French novel “D’entre les Morts” (“The Living Dead”) by Boileau-Narcejac, the pen name of the writing duo Pierre Boileau and Pierre Ayraud. Hitchcock moved the action from Paris to San Francisco and, crucially, changed the ending, and the result is one of the most enduring films ever made.
The film followed the story of San Francisco police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (Stewart), who was forced to retire from the force due to his phobia of heights, which he acquired after a vicious bout of the titular case of vertigo. Scottie is hired to tail Madeline (Kim Novak), the wife of a man he knows, initiating a deepening obsession that will threaten to drive the former detective insane. Scottie’s phobia, however, keeps him from following her up the stairs of a Spanish Mission, where she falls to her death. It’s here that Vertigo really begins to toy with the viewer’s mind, and its twists and turns, as well as Hitchcock’s brilliant framing and the stellar performances from the cast, are big reasons why the film is routinely ranked one of the best ever made. In short, it’s a tough act to follow, but the talent involved is clearly up for the challenge.
Paramount’s Vertigo will follow a few high-profile remakes of Hitchcock’s films, including Gus Van Sant’s obsessively reconstructed 1998 remake of Psycho, in which he did a shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s 1960 classic. And while Vertigo has inspired numerous filmmakers, from David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive to Brian De Palma’s Body Double, no American studio has attempted a straight remake of the film.
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Featured image: HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 04: Robert Downey Jr. attends the special screening of “Sr.” during the 2022 AFI Fest at TCL Chinese Theatre on November 04, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)