Featuring one of the most gripping opening scenes to an action film ever, director Renny Harlin’s 1993 classic Cliffhanger is still thrilling to watch today.
The original film saw Sylvester Stallone as a retired mountain rescue man who is forced back into climbing dangerous rocks in order to help a group of thieves recover some missing money. Lead by the psychotic John Lithgow, the thieves lost their millions due to a bothced airplane heist, and the briefcases with the cash in have fallen from the plane onto the mountains below. The criminals have taken hostages in order to force Stallone’s Gabe Walker to lead them to their cash.
Cue lots of great action, some brutal fights and Stallone doing what he does best. Michael Rooker plays a strong role in the classic film as Gabe’s former best friend, and Lithgow is at times incredibly menacing. Cliffhanger is just great, and it most certainly DOES NOT require a remake, but it is getting one.
Deadline reports that producer Neal Moritz and Studio Canal are ready to move forward with a re-imagining of Cliffhanger, and they have set Joe Gazzam (Shadow Run) to write the screenplay. Gazzam was one of a group of writers who pitched an idea for a remake.
The original was made by Carolco before that company crashed, and TriStar distributed it. StudioCanal ended up with the rights. There is no domestic distributor in place, but since Moritz’s Original Pictures is Sony-based, that studio should get a first crack at the project.
Moritz and Ori Marmur will produce for Original, and StudioCanal’s Ronald Halpern is in the middle of the whole thing too. Gazzam was in the right place at the right time. He has been working with Original on his spec Shadow Run, which Sony bought as a spec several months ago and is fast tracking the project and looking for a director. When Gazzam pitched a Cliffhanger take that sparked Moritz, he got a job a lot of writers wanted. Gazzam is repped by Paradigm and Industry Entertainment.
If, like me, the idea of a remake of such a guilty pleasure angers you, then simply watch the entire opening of the film next, complete with edge of your seat thrills, and a bizarre Frank (Ralph Waite) smiling delightfully as Sarah (Michelle Joyner) is in a but of a bad situation!