Eva Mendes is in talks to co-star, along with Nicholas Cage, in director Werner Herzog’s “remake” of the classic Harvey Keitel vehicle “Bad Lieutenant.” I have called this latest version of “Bad Lieutenant” a “remake” (with quotes around it) because the more I hear about the project, the less it sounds like Abel Ferrara’s 1992 original.
Exhibit A: the plot. The new script by William M Finkelstein (along with “NYPD Blue,” Finkelstein is credited with writing unknown episodes of “Cop Rock” – be afraid) has Cage investigating the murders of five Senegalese immigrants. That’s right, no nun rape and no bloody crucifixes to speak of.
Exhibit B: Cage’s character has a name. It’s Terrence McDonough. In Ferrara’s film, Keitel was just “The Lieutenant” – the “Bad” part reveals itself over time. And exhibit C: Eva Mendes. Mendes is a pretty big star to take a role in a film whose progenitor had almost no substantial female roles. There was The Lieutenant’s oblivious wife, his strung-out ‘girlfriend’ and the nun. Aside from the crack whore who must dance on command – that’s about it for the ovary set in “Bad Lieutenant.”
I’ll assume that Herzog has Mendes in mind as some sort of romantic interest for Cage – the two worked well together in last year’s “Ghost Rider,” after all. Whether that love interest will bear any resemblance to Ferrara’s junkie whore – who knows?
It is hard for me to accept that anyone would ever try to remake “Bad Lieutenant,” a film that easily places in my top 20 of the 1990’s. It does help that Werner Herzog and his writer don’t seem set on recreating the original, per se – and everyone out there who believes that Nicolas Cage’s man-parts should remain a mystery can be thankful for that as well.