There are some things we need to come to accept here. The first being, remakes are going to happen, regardless of whether we want them to or not. Hollywood doesn't care about Spec Scripts, and they won't until the audience supports them again. The second being that it's going to eventually happen. There is too much money to be made off the title for studios to keep away from it. If we wait too long it'll fall into the hands of Michael Bay (in which case it'll be The Rock walking through a lot of fire) or Paul Feig (Janet Burton anyone?) So we need to take action. I'd rather it be from a fan.
Third, Dwayne Johnson is cool as fuck. I'm not talking about The Rock. I hated the Rock. I still do. And when Dwayne becomes the Rock, I tune out completely. But that is the reason that I came to like the real man and the sole reason that I respect him as an actor. He is an actor. Even though he's an action star, he still manages to give us small glimpses of great comedic acting. He did a good job on SNL and was well cast in an episode of Reno 911.
Dwayne Johnson vs. The Rock
However my favorite roll he ever played was the one that makes me think that it is possible for him to be a decent Jack Burton: Elliot Wilhelm in Be Cool. A gay body guard who aspires to be an actor. It was the first time I had ever seen him step out of the roll of tough guy with something to prove to the world. I wanted to hate it, because at the time, I though I hated him. But I didn't. I just didn't understand that Dwayne Johnson and The Rock were two different people. I don't think Johnson even knew. There was the brief time where he was credited as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. As time went on a brand new person emerged.
Now, I do very much understand the discontent that so many feel. As a matter of fact my first reaction when my co-writer broke the news to me was, "No." I didn't think more was needed. It was obviously horrible news. Then I made myself watch Be Cool. I watched his SNL and Reno 911 appearances. He was funny. And this was years ago. I'm sure he has matured as an actor and artist from there. Plus, we must always remember the big surprises that have slapped us directly across the face. (Heath Ledger as the Joker. Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. and if you haven't seen Billy Bob Thorton in Sling Blade, DO IT.)
ALSO, we have to admit that if someone chooses to wear a fanny pack because they want to, and pulls it off in a way that they still got laid, you have to show some respect for the ability to spin a trend. If they do it while rocking their own version of a flattop haircut, you have to give them extra points for taking risks. When they make the decision to do this all in the form of a head shot you have to believe in their ability to lead regardless of the circumstances...I know that is really hard to buy into, so I'll just show you...
Last, but most important, he loves the film. LOVES it. He doesn't want to make money off of it. He wants to be true. And he wants John Carpenter to direct. That is a big step in the right direction for this entire project as a whole. If Carpenter comes on for the project, even as a producer or writer, then we will at least be getting a higher percentage chance of seeing something fantastic come to fruition. It may even be enough to convince Johnson that he can be involved in the project without being the lead. I have to agree with a writer at CinemaBlend that he is more fit to be in a remake of They Live.
In my personal opinion, Johnson is just too perfect for Burton. He can be funny, but an actor such as Russell has an inherent improvisational knack deep inside him. Not to mention that Burton is charismatic, smooth and most importantly, relatable. Kurt Russell is someone you want to watch. There were so many movies in which the script wasn't all there, but Russell teamed with the right Director made it happen in all the right ways.
But If Johnson doesn't play Burton...
The biggest problem I see in all of this is, even if they did re-make it, and they went a different direction than Johnson, who would play Burton? You don't see actors like that anymore. All the leading men these day seem to lack that oh so charismatic side. I love Tom Hardy to death, and at first I felt he would be the best fit at this time, but he's not really a guy you'd want to have a drink with. And if you did, you aren't expecting big laughs. More so some dark story from his past that brought him to the doorstep of today.
I've heard all kinds of horrible suggestions: Jai Courtney, Ben Affleck, Channing Tatum...someone said Joel Mchale. We are no longer friends and I have now open hand slapped a grown man. After I pondered it some more and really tried to connect with the character, (I needed a reason to watch Big Trouble 10 times this week), I think that in all honesty there only 2 actors that fit the bill for this character. Dwayne Johnson, if you're really reading the internet comments about this news, then I plead with you to please hear me out on these 2 actors.
CHOICE #2: SHIA LABEOUF: The Actor
Yes, I understand that he has undergone a fair bit of controversy linked to his identity crisis. Yes, I know that he is consistently called out by fans for being a total dick. I am not looking at the person (who I very much like) I am looking at the actor. Shia is one of the most underrated artists in the public eye. People consistently shit on him and he just deals with it the way Shia feels is right. No matter how big he gets, or his career for that matter, he is one of the few that has managed to still become his own person and not who we wanted him to become. That has to be hard as hell on a human being.
After Transformers he could have gone on to become Hollywood's golden child. Instead he wanted to be an everyman. He didn't want to be famous. That is step one of Jack Burton. He has also taken on more serious roles as he has aged, but still managed to maintain that likable, funny side that made the world fall in love with him in the first place. Hollywood and stardom have taken shots at him and through it he has chiseled out this personality that you can really buy him tangled in desperate fleets of heroics in order to survive.
With all that being said, he is my second choice for a reason. Because I feel with all the actors out there today the closest thing to what Kurt Russell did in Big Trouble is create someone who doesn't embody the actor, but the character himself. A funny guy who likes adventure and drinking heavily. A Joe Everyman.
BEST CHOICE: ROB MCELHENNEY: The Real Life Burton
He's not on ANYONE'S list. I understand why. He hasn't had success through film. However, there's more to him than the character of Mac. There're not a lot of people that know Rob as the mastermind behind It's Always Sunny, but he is. Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day are obviously two pieces that the show can't live without, and both have comedic timing that is impeccable. All five members of the main cast do. They're heavily talented across the board. That's what makes the show so successful. But it was McElhenney's idea. He was the one that brought it all together. The lead writer. (Charlie and Glenn have written several episodes of It's Always Sunny, but this is about the beginning.)
McElhenney has shown through 10 seasons of It's Always Sunny that he is absolutely hilarious. He is likable and completely believable as 'just one of the guys.' As far as being the hero, he has demonstrated that he controls his own physique and will give what it takes to make the joke pay off. (Fat Mac) Kurt Russell was in better shape, but McElhenney could reinvent the role while staying true. Not to mention that he already dropped most of the weight he gained for Season 7, and if he can gym with the dedication that he ate, I think as far as 'Looking the part' he will be just fine.
So if we're going to re-do Big Trouble then we need to do our best to get it right. Labeouf is a better choice than Johnson, and McElhenney is better than them both. Let's get us a Jack Burton while he is actually there...or just don't do it at all.
How crazy would it be if Johnson got a response from Carpenter and he would only do it on the one condition that they do the script for the sequel he secretly wrote years ago with an older Kurt Russell...holy shit. I would watch that as long as Carpenter did it. Maybe we'd get another awesome treat like Mad Max.
I hope this finds its way through the vastness of the internet to Mr. Johnson, or Carpenter, or McElhenney, or anyone else that me be involved. Maybe this can plant the subconscious seed to help grow the right tree for a remake that more than anything else, probably shouldn't happen. Until the kinks get ironed out and we figure out what's really going on, let us just remember the good old days as they were: perfect.