Why on Earth is Lee Daniels Remaking Fellini's 'Nights of Cabiria'?
While a recent article at Deadline has confirmed that The Butler, starring Denzel Washington as real-life White House butler Eugene Allen, will be the next film from Precious director Lee Daniels, some much more disturbing news of his future slate is mentioned ever so briefly. Daniels just recently switched his talent agency from Creative Artists Agency to William Morris Endeavor, but before he left, the lovely folks at WME had closed a deal for the filmmaker to remake Federico Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, the 1957 film which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Do you hear that? That's the sound of Lee Daniels losing every ounce of my respect.
So Daniels gets a Best Director nomination aside from the fact that his work on Precious was dull, and uninspiring, unlike the story that actually drove the film to the Oscars, and now he thinks he can remake a Best Foreign Film winner from one of the most iconic Italian filmmakers in cinema's history? I'm sorry, Mr. Daniels, but you are no Federico Fellini, and Precious (which was only your second film) is far from being a masterpiece. Daniels has no subtlety, unique visual style or one ounce of abstract story telling in his bones (from what we've seen so far) and that makes him the least qualified director to remake a film like this (which shouldn't be remade in the first place).
As for Nights of Cabiria itself, it's one of Fellini's finest works and if you haven't had the pleasure of seeing it, then you're missing out completely. The film features Fellini's wife Giulietta Masina as a wide-eyed, naive prostitute walking the streets of Rome as she looks for true love, but consistently finds heartbreak. Chock full of silly humor contrasted with stark tragedy, the film is a must-see for any film connoisseur or student of cinema. And now it's in the hands of Lee Daniels. The Playlist (who noticed the news bit in the otherwise boring report) seems to have a slight glimmer of hope in their mention that for Bob Fosse‘s classic musical Sweet Charity was based on Nights of Cabiria and that "still worked out." However, I really don't care to see Daniels version of the story, which will most likely be tailored to his core audience. Anyone else mad about this?