x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

For cinema, there's no time like the past

With a John Hughes script heading to the screen and a slew of remakes in the works, we my be in the midst of a 1980s revival.

The Breakfast Club: Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, John Hughes and Ally Sheedy.
The Breakfast Club: Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, John Hughes and Ally Sheedy.

The Eighties revival has been making its mark on music and fashion for years, but now the decade of leg warmers and shoulder pads seems to be crashing the world of movie comedy, too. An unfilmed script by late writer-director John Hughes, whose coming-of-age movies helped define 1980s cinema, could finally be heading into production, while some of the era's best-loved comedies are reportedly set to be revamped.

The Hughes script, entitled Grisbys Go Broke, follows a wealthy Chicago family that loses everything and is forced to move to the sticks after making a series of bad investments. Focusing on class and snobbery, like many Hughes stories, the riches-to-rags tale is expected by industry insiders to strike a chord with audiences in the current economic climate. Paramount Pictures is rumoured to be interested in turning Grisbys into a family comedy, produced by Alice in Wonderland's Joe Roth, although official negotiations have yet to begin, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Hughes, whose films include Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Home Alone, died last August of a heart attack. He was 59 years old. During his career, more than 30 of his screenplays were turned into films, together grossing almost $1.6 billion (Dh6 billion). The filmmaker was given a tribute at Sunday's Oscar ceremony, in which the former Hughes stars Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson and Macauley Culkin appeared.

After giving up directing in the early 1990s, Hughes left Hollywood for Chicago but continued to write. His last film to reach the screen was the 2008 comedy Drillbit Taylor, starring Owen Wilson. The screenplay was rewritten by Seth Rogen and Kristofor Brown, and Hughes's story credit appeared under the pseudonym Edmond Dantes. The film received poor reviews from critics and failed to set the box office alight. Many Hughes fans believe it was an underwhelming swansong for the writer, and that Grisbys could finally set the record straight.

Rumours have also circulated that the 1985 Hughes-directed movie Weird Science, in which two geeky high schoolers create the perfect woman, is set to be remade. It was even reported that the actor Robert Downey Jr, a former member of the Brat Pack set of Hughes regulars and one of the film's stars, has thrown his weight behind the project. But it's not just Hughes's body of work that is being tapped for potential remakes. It was announced last week that the comedy series Police Academy, which began 1984 and spawned seven films and a TV programme, is set to return to the big screen. New Line Cinema is rebooting the franchise, with the original producer, Paul Maslansky, returning. The first outing starred Steve Guttenberg as Mahoney, a petty criminal forced to enter police training, as well as the Sex and the City actress Kim Cattrall.

The growing list of planned revamps also includes the 1989 movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids. According to the film website What's Playing, an original crew member has confirmed that Disney is trying to reboot the film, which starred Rick Moranis as a madcap inventor who accidentally shrinks his children with a laser. It spawned the sequel Honey I Blew Up the Kid and the straight-to-video Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves.

The romantic comedy Arthur, about a playboy billionaire who falls for a penniless waitress, is also being eyed by Hollywood. The comedian Russell Brand has been cast in the lead role, which was played by his fellow Briton Dudley Moore in the 1981 original. Perhaps the most unlikely Eighties reboot rumour came from the actor Keanu Reeves on the Oscars red carpet on Sunday. The notoriously humourless star was jokingly asked by MTV whether another Bill and Ted movie will ever be made. The actor responded with a surprisingly straight face: "I'm trying."

The 1989 film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure helped launch The Matrix actor's glittering career, but his co-star, Alex Winter, has had a less successful run since hanging up his air guitar. The original, in which the two hapless rockers travelled through time in a phone booth, was followed by Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in which the Wyld Stallyns explored the afterlife. Reeves' unexpected comment seemed genuine enough, although before anyone gets too excited, it should be noted that the actor has a history of trying to mislead reporters. Even if he was joking, it seems the 1980s will still be heading to a cinema near you.