Rusty Griswold prepares to take another 'Vacation'
There are few potential reboots that get people as worked up as National Lampoon’s "Vacation.” The original was a comedy classic, and the idea of trying it again in the 21st century is either a welcome return to a golden era or Hollywood’s latest bit of blasphemous tinkering.
We may not have to wait long to know which reaction is justified. The writers on the film (also the writers, incidentally, on “Horrible Bosses”) have finished a second draft of the script, and studio New Line is eager to get moving on the reboot, according to a person briefed on the project who was not authorized to talk about it publicly.
The company is reaching out to potential directors, said the person, including Pete Segal, the director of "50 First Dates," who has some experience with reviving classic comedies, having directed the remakes of "The Longest Yard" and "Get Smart."
What would the new helmer be making? For one thing, the film (called “Vacation," sans National Lampoon) centers on the grown-up character of Rusty Griswold, Anthony Michael Hall's sandy-haired boy from the 1983 original who was in the backseat while parents Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) piloted the Wagon Queen Family Truckster.
The writers, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, said that they aimed to give Rusty a populist appeal.
"He's a kind of an everyman, goodhearted, maybe a little bit of a doofus," Goldstein told 24 Frames. Daley added, "The thing that made the first film so successful was Chevy Chase and just how likable Clark was, and Rusty will have a lot of similarities to him."
The pair said they weren't worried that they'd have to follow the details of the original Rusty. "He wasn't particularly well-drawn in the original, just a kid, really, so we're free to a develop the character." The hope is for Chase and D' Angelo to reprise their roles from the original franchise too (they of course starred in several sequels as well), likely at the end of the film, the pair said, when Rusty runs into his parents.
The writers understand why fans might be hesitant about a new "Vacation." "There's a trend to remake movies that shouldn't be remade, at least not yet," Goldstein said. "If this were a straight remake, we'd be hesitant. But we think this is fair game. It's characters people like. We're just advancing the story."
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: National Lampoon's "Vacation." Credit: New Line