Paramount Pictures, Tina Sinatra and producer Scott Rudin are mounting a remake of John Frankenheimer’s 1962 classic “The Manchurian Candidate,” with Dan Pyne (“Any Given Sunday”) on board to pen the screenplay.
Sinatra will produce the film with Rudin. Her father, Frank Sinatra, starred in the original opposite Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey. Adapted by George Axelrod from the 1959 novel by Richard Condon, “Candidate” was a sophisticated combination of political thriller and black-hearted satire of McCarthyism and the anticommunist hysteria of the ’50s.
Sinatra and Harvey portrayed Bennett Marco and Raymond Shaw, soldiers returning to civilian life after the Korean War. Shaw has a Medal of Honor he doesn’t remember earning, while Marco is plagued by nightmares. As it turns out, both were brainwashed in Korea by Soviet and Communist Chinese officials, and Marco must prevent Shaw from fulfilling his programmed mission to assassinate the president of the United States.
First released in October 1962 to tepid public response, interest in the film skyrocketed a year later with the assassination of President Kennedy. In 1972, Frank Sinatra bought the rights to “Manchurian” from United Artists to prevent it from returning to circulation. When “Manchurian” was re-released theatrically in 1988, it was critically hailed, with Sinatra’s perf cited as the best of his career.
Frank Sinatra gave daughter Tina his blessing to set up a “Manchurian” remake. “He believed, as we do, that premises can be brought into the future,” Sinatra told Daily Variety.
She nearly got the remake on its feet with producer Joel Silver at Warner Bros. Pictures. When the studio put it into turnaround several years ago, she set it up at Paramount Pictures and went through a couple of writers, but never got a greenlight.
Sinatra said Par chair Sherry Lansing called her in December with the suggestion that she meet with Rudin, which later led to Pyne’s hiring.
“The development process takes its course, but I couldn’t be happier with where it is right now,” Sinatra said. “A lot of its success will rely on a writer of Dan Pyne’s caliber.”
Repped by CAA and managed by the Bauer Co., Pyne most recently penned “The Sum of All Fears” for Par and received credit on “Any Given Sunday.” Rudin and Pyne previously collaborated on pics “Pacific Heights” and “White Sands.”