A 48 Hours Remake may very well still happen, but if it does, it won’t be the Safdie brothers at the helm. Back in December 2017, it was reported that Josh and Benny Safdie, the duo behind Good Time and the recently released Uncut Gems, were attached to write and direct a remake of the 80s action classic. Now, it’s come to light that they’re no longer making the movie and, instead, intend to focus on original projects.
I recently had the good fortune of speaking with the Safdie brothers about Uncut Gems, which features Adam Sandler in one of his most acclaimed roles ever. During our chat, I asked about the status of a remake based on the original 48 Hours directed by Walter Hill. At that point, in no uncertain terms, Josh Safdie said, “We’re not going to do that.” Speaking a bit further about what happened with the project, the filmmakers had this to say about it.
Josh Safdie: We wrote a few drafts with the studio and it became very clear that we don’t know how to do a remake. We only know how to do our own ideas. The general structure kind of was there from the original, but the stuff that was taken from the original was my least favorite stuff. It’s funny. I met [48 Hours director] Walter Hill recently. He came to see a screening of Uncut Gems, and I know he had seen Good Time. I said to him, “Just to get this off the table, I know you know we were hired to do this remake of your film.” And he’s like, “Yeah. I was so confused because I’ve seen your movies now and these guys are definitely not short of any original ideas. Why do they need to remake something?”
That sentiment is very true. That project will be shifted into something original because there are some incredible things that came out of that writing process. So we’re talking to the studio now about doing that. But yeah, in terms of remaking stuff, [Martin] Scorsese, one of my favorite movies of Scorsese’s is a remake. Cape Fear. They can be done, I just don’t know how to do it yet.
Benny Safdie: There’s certain stories that lend themselves a little better to it. That was the original idea. That’s a very simple idea, maybe we can kind of parlay that into something else.
Josh Safdie: Yeah. Like the idea of remaking a movie that’s known for its style makes no sense. You remake a movie that’s known for maybe its story. You know what I mean? So that you can tell it in a new way. But there are some remakes that are happening that are like, that movie is all about the voice of the filmmaker and the style.
Benny Safdie: Scarface is like that. That’s so invested in the character. Scarface was a remake of its own!
Josh Safdie: But there are movies that you see being remade that you just go, “But the original was all style!”
48 Hours was released in 1982 and was directed by the legendary Walter Hill. Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte both star, with the duo playing a cop and felon pair who form an unlikely partnership to capture some killers who are on the loose. The movie was a huge critical success and helped kick off what we now know as the buddy cop genre. It was also notable for being Murphy’s feature debut.
The movie was a box office success at the time, bringing in $78.8 million worldwide. A sequel, titled Another 48 Hours, was released in 1990. It didn’t fare nearly as well critically speaking. It did, however, gross $153 million worldwide. With remakes and reboots being all the rage right now, it’s easy to understand why Paramount thought this might be a good franchise to revisit.
It’s unclear what the studio intends to do now that the Safdie brothers have left the project. What’s perhaps most interesting here is that the directors intend on taking the ideas they crafted for their 48 Hours remake and turning those into an original movie. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the project are made available. In the meantime, Uncut Gems is in theaters now from A24.