Back in May a German-Austrian dramedy titled Toni Erdmann premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. There, Sony Pictures Classics acquired the U.S. and Latin America rights. The movie went on to play numerous festivals, garnering much critical praise along the way, all leading up to it being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film this year.
One of the film’s many fans, as it turns out, is none other than Jack Nicholson. So much so, in fact, that Nicholson himself—who hasn’t appeared in a feature film role since 2010’s How Do You Know—reached out to Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey about the project. Grey immediately took the necessary steps to acquire the remake rights to Toni Erdmann, and now it’s been made official. Nicholson is set to star in his first title in seven years, with Kristen Wiig locked in to star as well.
Continue reading for more and to see a trailer for the original.
Here’s a synopsis for the original from Sony Classics:
Winfried doesn’t see much of his working daughter Ines. The suddenly student-less music teacher decides to surprise her with a visit after the death of his old dog. It’s an awkward move because serious career woman Ines is working on an important project as a corporate strategist in Bucharest. The geographical change doesn’t help the two to see more eye to eye. Practical joker Winfried loves to annoy his daughter with corny pranks. What’s worse are his little jabs at her routine lifestyle of long meetings, hotel bars and performance reports. Father and daughter reach an impasse, and Winfried agrees to return home to Germany. Enter flashy “Toni Erdmann” – Winfried’s smooth-talking alter ego. Disguised in a tacky suit, weird wig and even weirder fake teeth, Toni barges into Ines’ professional life, claiming to be her CEO’s life coach. As Toni, Winfried is bolder and doesn’t hold back, but Ines meets the challenge. The harder they push, the closer they become. In all the madness, Ines begins to understand that her eccentric father might deserve some place in her life after all.
A writer and director have not been hired yet for the remake. Wiig is also producing the project along with The Big Short director Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, and Jessica Elbaum. The original movie’s writer and director, Maren Ade, is executive producing with Jonas Dornbach and Janine Jackowski.
Nicholson has been rumored to be retired due to his long absence. The 79-year-old actor has said in the past, however, that he’s not retired but simply hasn’t felt the need to be “out there” as much anymore.
The great Gene Wilder was in a similar position, away from acting for many years because he couldn’t find anything he felt was worth doing. It was rumored that Steven Spielberg was trying to convince him to return to acting for his upcoming Ready Player One, but it didn’t work out. Sadly, Wilder passed away last year at the age of 83 having never found that one more special role to play.
It appears that Nicholson, for the moment anyway, has found at least one more special role to take on.