They have no actors, screenwriter, or director attached, but a group of producers has already figured out the budget for their planned remake of a 1973 prison drama: $90 million. The original film, Papillon, starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman as criminals trying to escape from Devil's Island, a French penal colony located in South America.
According to Variety, Spanish production company Atlantia Canarias recently closed a deal for the rights to the autobiography of Henri Charriere, whose best-selling book served as the basis for Papillon. The company has teamed up with veteran Los Angeles-based producers Branko Lustig (Gladiator, American Gangster) and John J. Kelly (Into the Wild, The Black Dahlia). Most of the financing has already been arranged through a Canary Islands tax investment vehicle, whereby taxpayers "earmark part of their payments for film and TV investment."
It's been several years since I've seen Papillon, but it felt very low-key and, frankly, drab and unexciting. Writing in 1973, Roger Ebert wasn't very impressed: "You know something has gone wrong when you want the hero to escape simply so that the movie can be over." The original film had an estimated budget of $12 million. Considering the remake's budget, I imagine the producers have set aside a good portion of that for two big male stars, and probably a star director.
Does this remake stir any interest? Who could put on the prison clothes worn by Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman?