WB Considering a 'Return to Casablanca' with Sequel to the Classic
Warner Bros loves Casablanca so much that they put the film's famous song "As Time Goes By" in their opening fanfare. And why wouldn't they? Consistently regarded as one of the best movies ever made, the 1942 classic has dozens of iconic moments and is generally put up there alongside Citizen Kane as movies that should never be remade. Well, a remake isn't on the way, but The New York Post (via The Film Stage) is reporting that Warner Bros. is toying with the idea of a sequel, called Return to Casablanca, that comes from a treatment written thirty years ago by Howard Koch, a screenwriter of the original movie. Read on.
Here's the breakdown of the potential story, courtesy of an interview with Howard Koch from the NY Post:
“After leaving Casablanca for America, Ilsa learned she was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy who grew up in America. The real father of the boy, it turns out, was not Laszlo but Rick.
He was conceived the night Ilsa came to Rick's place to plead for the Letters of Transit...The secret was not kept from Laszlo, but being the kind of man he was and owing so much to Rick, he adopted the child and treated him as his own son.
The boy was named Richard, and he grew up to be a handsome, tough-tender young man reminiscent of his father. He had been told the truth about his origin and has a deep desire to find his real father, or at least more about him, since Rick's heroic at actions in Casablanca have become legendary."
Koch wrote the story in the 1980s, but the bulk of the film is set in the early 1960s, when a now 20-year old Richard comes to Casablanca to find out the truth about his father following Ilsa and Laszlo's deaths. Rick's cafe had been blown up after the events of the original, and Return to Casablanca would reportedly feature a flashback to the final love scene between Rick and Ilsa in the original movie as an Arab woman leads guerrilla forces to hunt Nazi-led outlaws in the area and Richard ultimately discovers his father's fate.
Before everyone gets all bent out of shape, keep in mind that Warner Bros. is just contemplating this movie at this point and nothing has been greenlit yet. Cass Warner, the granddaughter and grand-niece of the actual Warner brothers who founded the studio, is apparently the one trying to get this off the ground, but that doesn't mean it's a lock to go into production. Cass was trying to raise money for a documentary about Dennis Hopper that we actually featured in an early Kickstart This column, and the studio didn't help her fund that in any way, so there's no reason to think they'll play ball simply because of her bloodline.
WB hasn't shut her down yet though, and apparently the studio "indicated they were willing to revisit this if [Cass] could find a filmmaker they were interested in working with." There are a lot of great filmmakers in the WB stable, but I don't know if anyone has the balls to touch a sequel to Casablanca. Since it's a genuine American classic, I think a lot of people are getting ruffled at the idea of a sequel so many years later, but if it gets more young people to check out the original, it can't be all bad. That's not an endorsement of this film by any stretch of the imagination, but we'll reserve full judgment until we get more than just a whisper of consideration from the studio. In the meantime, Casablanca is out on Blu-Ray for your viewing pleasure.