Remake news of the day: Josh Schwartz to tackle ENDLESS LOVE?
If nothing else, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 ENDLESS LOVE can be remembered for two things: that delicious eponymous jam by Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie, and that clunker of a tagline (“She is 15. He is 17. The love every parent fears.”). But it seems like those two warm, wonderful bits of cinema lore are simply not enough for Josh Schwartz (co-creator of such mixed bag television as “The O.C.,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Chuck.” Schwartz and Universal Pictures have apparently decided that what the world needs now is an ENDLESS LOVE remake. And while this news ultimately made me laugh out loud, I can’t say that it doesn’t intrigue me.
Do you not remember ENDLESS LOVE? Let’s refresh. Back in 1979, novelist Scott Spencer penned “Endless Love,” a teen dream of a novel that went on to sell 2 million copies, while also being nominated for a National Book Award. You may also be familiar with another of Spencer’s works that was adapted for the screen, WAKING THE DEAD. In any case, Spencer’s “Love” focused on the consuming relationship between fifteen year old Jade Butterfield and seventeen year old David Axelrod. To put it mildly – a lot of stuff goes down. Stuff like David burning down the Butterfields’ house and being sent to a mental institution. Ain’t love grand?
Despite the commercial and critical success of the book, the film (starring Brooke Shields as Jade and Martin Hewitt as David) was a bomb. Spencer attributed it to the tone Zeffirelli took with it, saying the “mistake was making it a cautionary tale. In the posters, the tagline was 'The love every parent fears,' but in the novel, it really was more, 'The love every parent envies.'…They also hired a director of Italian operas to make it, so any nuances of social or cultural observation went out the window. The result was a teenage make-out movie that was too tasteful: People who loved the book were furious; people who came to be turned on got lectured. Everybody went home dissatisfied.” Dissatisfied? My God, how have we not remade this yet?
I can only hope that Schwartz strikes up the sardonic wit that made me originally fall in love with “The O.C.” While his teen takes as of late have veered out of general plausibility (see: “Gossip Girl”), he is skilled at creating memorable characters it’s easy to care about. And, while he has a couple of features in development (including X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), he has yet to break out of television. Can he make a feature remake of ENDLESS LOVE work?
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