Pack up your Panhead and get ready for a wild road trip, because the word is out: The most famous motorcycle movie ever made is now ready for a remake/adaptation. Yes, after beating the same tired superhero characters to death for 20 years, sucking all the life out of the Star Wars IP and even somehow crash-landing J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories with an endless stream of increasingly vapid films and television work, the film industry now turns its cameras to … Easy Rider! According to Variety, Maurice Fadida of Kodiak Pictures is planning to reboot the film with a modern adaptation.
This may come as bad news, or really bad news, depending how you feel about the original. That 1969 film starred Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda as a pair of drug-dealing motorcyclists who find out the hard way that crime does not pay. Uh, actually, there’s a lot more to the film than that; their criminal proceeds fund a ride across the southern U.S. in the film, where they experience the joys of the open road, mingling with homesteaders, hippies, hayseeds and eventually having their drunken lawyer (played by Jack Nicholson) join for the ride.
See Quentin Tarantino’s thoughts on the film below. If you’ve seen the film yourself, you either love it for its counterculture portrayal, or you hate it because it gave everyone the impression that motorcycles were for drugged-up losers. There’s rarely an in-between opinion.
Now, Variety tells us this:
“A consortium of stakeholders and producers — including Maurice Fadida’s Kodiak Pictures, Defiant Studios’ Eric B. Fleischman, and the Jean Boulle Group — own the adaptation rights to the project originally released by Columbia Pictures … Producers behind the reboot are currently in search of bold writers and/or directors to update the project for modern times with the same fringe spirit (filmmakers used the Michael B. Jordan’s “Creed” and its relationship to the “Rocky” as a comp for their ambitions).”
Well, whether you like the original and fear to see the story botched in a remake, or if you hated it and don’t want to see this drag on any longer, chances are most riders and film fans are not going to be big fans of this. It doesn’t matter if you loved or loathed the 1969 film—there’s no denying that it had a lot of cultural impact, and the film industry at the time appreciated it for its aesthetics and for the filmmaking craft put into it.
And despite the alleged desire of the rebooters to “build upon the counterculture and freedom narrative the original left us with, and give the youth of today a film that pays serious attention to their own countercultures and challenges,” it’s hard to see how revisiting this 50-year-old-film would be countercultural in any way at all. The film industry is apparently keen to try, though, so stay tuned. Will we get a tale of a cross-country trip on electric motorcycles, funded by the proceeds of a now-legal weed deal? Who knows where they’ll take it …