Several people have openly considered remaking the film Casablanca, considered one of the best of all time, but the burden of recreating both the intense national mood and the perfect casting for the roles have proven far too daunting — at least for some of lesser stature. The Daily Mail reports that Madonna has decided to produce a remake, starring herself in the role of Ilsa Lund, but trying to capture the national mood by changing the setting … to Iraq?
It is one of the greatest films of Hollywood’s golden era, a triple Oscar-winning classic with electrifyingly charismatic stars and a script bursting with memorable lines.
But now Madonna has stunned the movie industry with plans to remake Casablanca – and this time set it in Iraq.
The singer, whose previous film career has been littered with critical and commercial turkeys, is also planning to take the lead role of Ilsa Lund, which originally made a star of Ingrid Bergman.
This is the Daily Mail, which means the report has to be taken with a large grain of salt. A quick Google search shows a number of reports, but most of them appear to use the Daily Mail as their original source. However, given Madonna’s huge ego and propensity for extremely bad career choices in cinema, this could very well be true — at least in intent.
How ridiculous would this project be? First, in terms of setting, Iraq and Casablanca have very few parallels, if any at all. Casablanca was a place no one could flee, hence the central plot device of the signed exit visas. People come and go out of Iraq with few hurdles — in fact, that’s been one of the reasons why Iraq has had so many problems after the invasion. In terms of mood, it would be the exact opposite of what the US felt in 1942, when the original was made. What national anthem would replace La Marseillaise in the remake, I wonder? The Saddam-era Iraqi national anthem, or perhaps the Russian?
Most ludicrous, however, would be casting Madonna — Madonna! — as Ilsa Lund. Madonna is 49 years old, and hasn’t exactly aged well. Anyone who saw her last ridiculous remake, Swept Away, could see that she had no business in an ingenue role, and that was six years ago. Ingrid Bergman was 27 when at the time Casablanca was filmed, and looked younger. Madonna … not so much.
Madonna might make a credible Ugarte instead, and then audiences could cheer her sudden departure at about the ten-minute mark. It would also give audience closer identification with the lead character when Ugarte asks, “You despise me, don’t you, Rick?”
Update: I forgot to credit this to The Corner, where they have been speculating on remakes that could get set in Iraq. My favorite? Gone With the Wind, but mostly because I don’t like the original.