I do not envy the task ahead of Walter Hill.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the legendary director of THE WARRIORS, SOUTHERN COMFORT and THE LONG RIDERS will pair with the Aldrich Company to revisit the sibling rivalry of Blanche and Baby Jane Hudson in a new version of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?. The initial filmed adaptation of Henry Farrell's novel was directed by the great Robert Aldrich, and is an indisputable classic powered by two memorable performances from Joan Crawford (as poor crippled Blanche) and Bette Davis (as the round-the-bend Baby Jane). There was a very good television remake in 1991 starring Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave, and it's a testament to the greatness of the original that I can barely remember a moment of the Redgraves' take.
I adore Walter Hill, but I don't know how he'll match the demented majesty of Aldrich's film (heightened by Ernest Haller's black-and-white cinematography). Here's what he had to say to The Hollywood Reporter:
“The two equal leads demand great performers – that is a given. The intensity of the gothic storyline makes a reconfiguration of the drama still a potentially searing experience. The idea is to make a modern film without modernizing the period. It needs to resonate the golden age of Hollywood.”
Anything that gets Hill behind the camera is fine by me, but he's got his work cut out for him here. The good news: these are two plum roles for a couple of female movie stars in their fifties. I'd love to see Michelle Pfeiffer take a crack at Baby Jane. Perhaps Debra Winger would make a great Blanche? Lots of intriguing possibilities to consider.