Robert Downey Jr. to Lead Vertigo Remake From Paramount Pictures: Report


Vertigo, the classic Alfred Hitchcock 1958 psychological thriller, is reportedly getting a remake. As per Deadline, Paramount Pictures has acquired remake rights to the film, with Robert Downey Jr. (Zodiac, The Avengers) set to headline the cast lineup. In it, he will reprise the late actor James Stewart’s role from the original film — a retired detective suffering from acrophobia, aka the fear of heights. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is attached to pen the Vertigo remake, produced by Davis Entertainment in collaboration with Susan Downey and Robert’s own company, Team Downey.

Downey has laid low as an actor since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which turned out to be the second-highest-grossing film of all time, with re-releases. He then went on to executive produce and star in Dolittle, which was deemed a box office bomb, followed by appearing in a Netflix documentary ‘Sr.,’ examining his father’s career and relationships. Downey will next appear in the Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer as Lewis Strauss, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Then there’s the Park Chan-wook-directed The Sympathizer TV series for HBO and A24 in the works, with Downey attached to star and executive produce.

Directed by Hitchcock, Vertigo follows a former San Franciso police detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (Stewart), who retires from the force due to a paralysing fear of heights, worsened by vertigo. When the sleuth is hired by an acquaintance to shadow his wife (Kim Novak) and uncover her strange behaviour, Scottie finds himself increasingly obsessed with her. His acrophobia, however, renders him powerless when one day, he fails to save the woman from plunging to her death. Based on the 1954 French novel D’entre les morts, Hitchcock’s adaptation went on to inspire the 1965 Tamil film Kalangarai Vilakkam, and much later Brian De Palma’s Obsession. While Vertigo received mixed reviews upon initial release, it soon gained a cult following, cracking the top 10 spot in a 1982 survey conducted by the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound publication. It is now widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

A few other Hitchcock films have been remade previously, ranging from Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot reinterpretation of Psycho to the Michael Douglas-led A Perfect Murder, which is a take on 1954’s Dial M for Murder. However, this would be the first time we get a full-blown remake from an American studio. Earlier this week, the Vertigo remake writer Knight was brought onboard to write the untitled Star Wars film that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel) is attached to direct. Original screenwriters Damon Lindelof (Lost) and Justin Britt-Gibson (Counterpart) have officially left the project.

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