New Cliffhanger Director Ana Lily Amirpour Says Movie is a ‘Reinvention,’ Not a Remake

Dec 22, 2022

Home Interviews Exclusive: New Cliffhanger Director Ana Lily Amirpour Says Movie is a ‘Reinvention,’ Not a Remake

Amirpour, the director behind The Bad Batch and a new segment of Cabinet of Curiosities, spoke with MovieWeb about her Cliffhanger film.

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Ana Lily Amirpour created one of the most acclaimed filmmaking debuts of recent memory with A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, following it up with two wonderfully weird but woefully underrated films, The Bad Batch and Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon. This year, she’s directed one of the best episodes of the recent Cabinet of Curiosities series from Guillermo Del Toro on Netflix, titled The Outside, a thought-provoking, funny, but sad meditation on beauty.

Now, eyes are on her for an upcoming remake of the 1993 Sylvester Stallone classic Cliffhanger (which also has one of John Lithgow’s best performances). The original is an adrenaline-fueled, extremely entertaining action-adventure movie, but with updated technology, it actually does seem like a film that would benefit from a remake, unlike many which are made today. However, Amirpour, who describes her own films as a “psychedelic blend of genres,” seems like a fascinating choice for what was initially a testosterone-pumping, fairly mainstream action movie of the ’90s. Amirpour spoke with MovieWeb recently about the project, and what even defines a good remake.

Amirpour on the Uphill Climb to Make Cliffhanger

TriStar Pictures

Amirpour’s films are dark, thoughtful, and essentially indie movies, with extremely cool music, deadpan humor, and sudden bursts of violence, and she has written them all herself (outside her short Cabinet of Curiosities film). So it might seem like an odd choice not only for Amirpour to be chosen but to even accept, though her vision is probably what will make the new Cliffhanger great. When asked if she’s had any trepidations about the project, she told us honestly, “There definitely is.” She continued:

In some ways, it’s a really beloved cult classic, a movie that’s iconic, and you can’t replace someone like Stallone. So I think the thing for me was [having] a new story to tell that was really different but somehow rooted in what made the first one what it is. Being able to just go off and make it into something different and new, but that really had the spirit of the first movie. I had an idea I liked, and a really supportive producer and a great writer, so we have been developing it for some time now. We’re working and getting close to having a script.

Related: Exclusive: Kate Hudson and Ana Lily Amirpour Talk Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

That script is mostly credited to Sascha Penn, who developed the story for Creed 2 and wrote the upcoming Scott Eastwood film April 29, 1992, which also features one of Ray Liotta’s last performances. At one point, Jason Momoa would star in Cliffhanger, and still might in some capacity; it’s still unclear who will be taking on the lead part, but it will be a woman. Neal H. Moritz will be producing, which is a good sign considering his success on countless projects, from the ’90s hits Cruel Intentions and I Know What You Did Last Summer to the Prime Video series The Boys and the Fast and Furious franchise.

Amirpour Prefers Reinventions Over Remakes

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Moritz has produced multiple successful remakes (such as 21 Jump Street), so it will be interesting to see how his version of Cliffhanger will work with a director as iconoclastic and brilliant as Amirpour, who has her own distinct thoughts on remakes, saying, “I’m not a remake guy.” She elaborated:

I think remakes can be dangerous, because some of these movies are just, in my mind, perfect as they were. But I think if it’s something that kind of goes off of the original — like, I loved Prey, this movie that was a new installment of The Predator. And the original Predator is one of my top favorite movies of all time, and it’s massive. And of all the movies and sequels that have come, there have been quite a few for Predator, this new one Prey is the one I like. I felt like it took what the original was and really did something that stands apart but somehow is so connected. Same thing with Top Gun: Maverick, which to me was a genius sequel. So maybe it’s more like, rather than a remake, it’s a reinvention. It’s different.

At the end of the day, though, Amirpour hopes that her Cliffhanger captures the exhilaratingly fun energy of the original. “That’s what I hope to do, is have fun. I mean, it’s really a fun action movie that has heart,” said Amirpour. “It’s different, but sort of true to the spirit of the original.” Cliffhanger likely won’t be released until at least the end of 2023, but it seems like Amirpour is reinventing the classic in her own wonderful way. Her episode of Cabinet of Curiosities, The Outsider, will premiere on Netflix on October 26th.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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