The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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The Remake Watch: 'Big Valley' edition


It's almost impossible to scroll through showbiz news on the Web, or, God forbid, pick up a copy of Variety without reading the news of yet another remake or update or reboot of some old movie or TV show. (I just wrote the other day about New Line's "new" version of its 1980s "Nightmare on Elm Street" horror series.)

It's gotten to the point where it's almost too generous to say that Hollywood has run out of new ideas. In point of fact, Hollywood seems actively uninterested in -- and allergic to -- new ideas. As a number of screenwriters have told me in recent months, studio executives appear to genuinely prefer old, easily recognized (and to use their parlance) "brandable" ideas to anything that might vaguely smack of freshness or unfamiliarity. 

Hence "The Remake Watch," which will allow us to dissect the latest announcement of some cobwebby film or TV show that you never imagined in your wildest dreams that anyone would possibly want to ever revive:

The Story: Variety is reporting that the 1960s TV western "The Big Valley" is being remade as an indie feature by filmmakers Daniel Adams and Kate Edelman Johnson -- or as Variety put it: " 'The Big Valley' is headed to a much bigger screen." The film, being bankrolled by a pair of independent financing entities, is slated to start in April in New Mexico and Michigan, with Adams directing.

What The Story Tells You: Johnson, who is presumably a producer on the project, is the daughter of Louis Edelman, the co-creator of the original TV series, which ran from 1964 to 1969 on ABC, and launched the careers of Lee Majors and Linda Evans.

What the Story Doesn't Tell You: The director's most recent film, "The Golden Boys," had such a limited release last year that it made only $183,841 at the box office. His previous film, 1997's "The Mouse," did not have a theatrical release.

What You Can Read Between the Lines: In a throwaway sentence, Variety notes that "roles have not yet been cast." Translation: It must've been an awfully slow news day in trade-land, since without any stars on board, this movie is still a long way from actually happening.

Odds Of Ever Playing In a Multiplex Near You: 12%. If you're over 50, you might remember seeing "The Big Valley" as a kid, but old westerns are pretty low on the must-see pecking order, so it's certainly not an A-list title. That's especially true in an era where studio distributors view Westerns as having even less commercial potential than wrestling movies. Unless Adams and Johnson miraculously land a couple of big stars, this project -- if made -- seems destined to appear at a video store near you.



Comments () | Archives (11)

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This is an incredibly crass and absurdly short-sighted commentary. I loved "The Big Valley" -- it was one of the best shows on television back then, and has continually run in syndication for over 40 years. There are literally millions of people who would love to see a big screen version. I'm sure it will attract an "A-List" cast. Can't wait!

I loved Big Valley and I love Daniel Adams' work. And you should check your facts, because I saw his film The Mouse in a movie theater years ago, and just saw the The Golden Boys a couple of months ago. Adams is a great filmmaker. The perfect director to make a family western. Looking forward to seeing The Big Valley on the big screen! Plus I think Adams has another film coming out too.

I hope Peter Breck makes a guest appearance.He is definitely a cult figure.Has anybody noticed how much influence he had on the way that modern rodeo cowboys,especially bullriders dress and act

This Big Valley movie will be a great success!!! & Im 43 y.o & i remember the film very well. Plus my nephews love the show & their in the 20's! I also hope that Peter Breck is in the film!! Him & Lee majors made the best television team!! That & a great magical cast made it an instant American classic!!! You Patrick Goldstein certainly sound like you dont understand American values in entertainment.

Just heard Susan Sarandon is playing the Barbara Stanwyck role, so you can eat your words, Mr. Goldstein!

I hope they make the film, and I hope they stick to using unknowns, like Linda and Lee were in those days... Today's stars are so arrogant and obnoxious that
I would not like to see any of them... unless you could get Anthony Hopkins to
do Tom Barkley in flashback, and have as many of the original actors as possible
on board...

Here's an idea. Have Breck and Majors and Linda years later, reminiscing about their former lives... and jump back to them, occasionally!


I was wishing for a better cast !!!. Russel crowe as Jarrod
Sam worthington as heath and Colin Farrel as nick. If the cast is not picked right the film will be a flop!!!.So far
I don't like the cast.

Mr Goldstein - You'd better try to get yourself cable TV sometime! I see westerns even new ones popping up all the time. Move over and let the next generation and technology take your job, it's better at it. Rock on Big Valley!

Big Valley has my love and respect and attention. I used to feign sickness from school just to be home at ten in the morning with it came on TV (before VCRs and real reruns ever played).

I wanted so much to live in that world where there was a group of people who acted like family and could fight off any injustice or problem that came long from the standpoint of fierce logic, or else a show of force. They always won, basically, or if they didn't win, there was group closure. There was unity and acceptance of decency and standards.

The Barkleys could handle just about anything, or know the reason why not...


There is no way a remake of The Big Valley will make it. Big Valley is Peter Breck, Richard Long, Lee Majors, Linda Evans & Barbara Stanwyck.
Good luck to them, article is a year old an no news of a remake. laughable.

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