Ben Affleck and David Fincher to remake Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’

Fresh off the heels of the success of Gone Girl, Ben Affleck, director David Fincher and writer Gillian Flynn are teaming up again to redo a Hitchcock classic from 1951, Strangers on a Train. Deadline has the details, along with the fact that the film will change some plot points and take place in modern times. It’s surprising that Affleck is taking on this project, considering how busy he’ll soon be with his Battfleck duties. Deadline says he’ll fit it all in, though:

Ben Affleck and David Fincher will reteam on a Warner Bros remake of the classic Hitchcock thriller Strangers On A Train. Gillian Flynn, who adapted her novel Gone Girl for Fincher and Affleck, is in talks to write the script. The film will be produced by Affleck under Pearl Street, the Warner Bros-based banner he runs with Matt Damon. WB’s Jon Berg is overseeing. They are calling it Strangers.

Although the Hitchcock remake — a Warner Bros library title and an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel — will be its basis, this film will be contemporary and redefined for the times. This one might be best titled Strangers On A Plane, as Affleck will play a variation of the role played by Farley Granger of a tennis pro who is bored with his marriage and wants to get divorced but instead gets entwined with a wealthy socialite psycho who proposes the notion of exchanging murders. The twist here is a compelling one. Affleck will play a movie star in the middle of a campaign for an Oscar during awards season whose private plane breaks down and is given a ride to LA on another plane by a wealthy stranger. In Fincher’s hands, who knows how that goes, but it sure does seem like fertile ground.

[From Deadline]

My initial, gut response is “oh hell no.” I haven’t seen this film in over 10 years but I remember how excellent it was, and it’s frustrating to see classics get remade because studios are afraid to take chances with new material. (With the exception of best selling books.) I was going to ask, what’s next: Rebecca, Vertigo, Rear Window? The thing is, all of those Hitchcock classics have been remade in some capacity, we just haven’t heard much about them.

Plus, I have to admit that I marathoned A&E’s newish series, Bates Motel, over the holidays. It’s a prequel to Psycho, set in current day and starring Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore. It is SO GOOD. The writing and acting are excellent and the plot is juicy and soapy yet never veers into melodrama. So Hitchcock’s work can be used as a springboard for other, similarly creepy stories, sometimes borrowing heavily from the incredible source material. Hopefully Gillian Flynn and David Fincher can do Hitchcock justice. I’m concerned about Affleck in the lead, but he’s passable usually.

Oh and I had to read DListed to figure out the significance of Affleck playing an Oscar nominated actor who wants his wife dead. I wonder whose initial idea this project was.

Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner Out And About In Brentwood

Ben Affleck Shows Off The Guns In Brentwood

Ben Affleck Shows Off The Guns In Brentwood

photos credit: FameFlynet, and Getty Images

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49 Responses to “Ben Affleck and David Fincher to remake Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’”

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  1. Jayna says:

    I love David Fincher’s work. I wonder if Ben is going to help work on the revised screenplay. That’s one of his talents that I appreciate.

  2. QQ says:

    True Story: I Made The Same Face he has In The header

  3. miriam says:

    Can people stop casting Blandfleck? And no, this is completely unnecessary.

    • Ally8 says:

      Affleck is no draw for me, but I have to say that Farley Granger played the character as a callow, thoughtless, sophomoric fool, so it’s typecasting for Affleck.

      The tackiest thing about the project is the need to make everyone in the movie millionaires. It’s sadly hilarious when you’re making culture for the masses, but you’re so rich yourself (Fincher, Affleck, Flynn) that you struggle to tell a story about people with average bank accounts. I’ll be skipping it for sure; I’m tired of Fincher’s muddy palette, too. It’s very 90s music video.

  4. neelyo says:

    Not every Hitchcock film was a masterpiece, and besides Robert Walker’s performance as Bruno and the tennis match scene and carousel finale, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN isn’t a great film.

    I like Hitchcock, but there are other directors from the same period who are ignored because they didn’t have the Hitchcock gift for self-promotion.

    • Kiddo says:

      AT the least, Rear Window was indeed a masterpiece, and if you say otherwise, I will put fingers in ears and la-la-la you into oblivion.

    • Christin says:

      Robert Walker gave such an outstanding performance as Bruno. Sad that he died at such a young age that same year.

    • mia girl says:

      I kinda feel that even if some of his films weren’t masterpieces, they were still pretty damn good and better than most of that time.

      His best known classics (Psycho, NXNW, Rear Window, Vertigo, etc) are wonderful achievements in film and storytelling and stand the test of time. But among my personal favorites are Notorious and Rope.

    • chelsea says:

      Examples? Most Hollywood directors of his period were contracted hacks that weren’t filmmakers in the sense that Hitch was, who determined his own projects.

  5. funcakes says:

    Oh good. Another original idea from Hollywood. I’m so happy that everyone is getting paid millions to recycle old movie plots.

  6. Coco's says:

    Fincher is a great director, but come on man! stop with the remakes and book adaptions, do something original!

  7. Rachel says:

    Hollywood will love this. They love movies about them, like Argo coincidentally enough.

  8. Little Darling says:

    I agree with you, Celebitchy. I am saddened that in a world with so many undergrads studying writing and film that we can skim the crop and give young screenwriters a chance. The Remake Train has been running on Unoriginal Express for way too long! Every other movie that is planned or released is a remake of some other movie, and sometimes not very good ones to begin with.

    Thank goodness we have Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, and other avenues willing to bring forth original programming.

    Which is probably better because the movie theater culture is getting out of hand as well. Too expensive, too much hookah. But the magic of seeing an original, thought or icing film in a theater is sorely missed.

  9. Abbott says:

    …but then the wife gets pregnant during the award campaign and the murder-for-murder deal is OFF!


    Our beloved actor tries to navigate an award season run that is running off the rails like Gary Busey* on a motorcycle, while catering to his army of fans, and dodging the blood oath he took with that stranger, on that plane.

    Our actor’s life is in shambles. He prostrates himself on that red carpet and cries out to the Academy gods about his meaningless existence on this earth.


    In the final twist, that stranger on that plane, who ruined our actor’s Hollywood dreams, pulls his mask off and reveals himself to be…

    Freddie Shedmayne.


    *no disrespect to Gary Busey

  10. Marianne says:

    Are they really remaking a Hitchock film? Or merely re-adapting a book?

    Anyway, I don’t totally mind the idea. Yes, there are a lot of remakes out there and it would be nice to see more original work out there…..however I don’t mind remakes if it makes sense that either a)The film never did that well in the first place and this is a second chance to make the material popular or b)or if the source material is like really outdated. I hate remakes if the original still stands up or if ends up being exactly like the original.

    • manta says:

      I’m with you on this. I don’t understand why people freak out when they hear the word remake and lament “the good old times when Tinseltown had original ideas”. Hello, basically every speaking piece is a remake of a silent one.

      It makes me chuckle a little, especially when someone writes how Bale is “her favorite Laurie” or how iconic Pacino is as Scarface. Guess what, if Hollywood didn’t go “unoriginal”, you wouldn’ t be gifted with those performances.
      I just rewatched the Huston version of the Maltese Falcon.Apparently, he had to fight for it, since the studios didn’t see the necessity of a new adaptation of the novel just 10 years after the last one. And who could cite the guy who was Spade before Bogart now?
      So,just like you, I try to keep an open mind when it comes to remakes.

  11. FingerBinger says:

    Some remakes can work like Ocean’s 11 or the Fly ,but this is a bad idea.

  12. LAK says:

    On the one hand, ANOTHER REMAKE!!!???!!!!, But on the other, Hitchcock himself remade several titles, and not always to best effect. He was a master at self promotion, so people automatically assume he was as great as he self promoted and that he always made original works – not remotely true. See the difference between SORRY WRONG NUMBER which he remade as DAIL M FOR MURDER and that was remade as THE PERFECT MURDER and lots of lifetime movie variations. The first version stands the test of time. The second not so much and the third is just hokum.

    This particular story has been remade so many times that what harm can it do. Danny Devitto/Billy Crystal’s version was fantastic.

  13. Senaber says:

    I’m into it. I really loved “A Perfect Murder.” I like stories that are adapted for modern technology/ society. I love Shakespeare adaptations and I don’t see why Hitchcock should be off limits. Adaptations don’t bother me. I want to see good stories told time and again in new and creative ways. I like Lainey’s idea that this should be the sequel to “Gone Girl” too.

  14. Amy Tennant says:

    I actually really want to see a good, faithful adaptation of Rebecca. I liked the Hitchcock movie, but I think he wimped out a bit on it. It’s one of my favorite novels.

  15. Aminta says:

    Perfect films should not ever be remade :/ Hitchcock films especially. 😩

  16. Kate says:

    I would bet money that Amy Adams is in this as Affleck was raving about her when she gave him that award last week and saying that he wanted them to work together outside of Batman….

    • kri says:

      Anyone else with me that it might work if it was Matt Damon in the lead? He acts perfect circles around BA.

  17. Tiffany says:

    I want to take this moment to discuss a comment I made on 1/5 on the Pike thread. Commenter Molly asked why Fincher had such a vested interest in his female leads. I answered that Fincher thinks that he is the second coming of Hitchcock and that part of his personality is something that he picked up.

    Then I read about this yesterday and I said to myself, ‘You are so transparent Finch, no mystery’.

    Then I read that he was collaborating with Affleck and said to myself, ‘You should know better’.

    • mia girl says:

      @Tiffany – That is interesting and I had never heard that about FIncher. Now all the stories about his intense relationships with female leads makes total sense.

    • Ally8 says:

      Wanna bet that the schemer on the plane (the other “stranger”) will be a woman in this one? Twist! /eyeroll

      Those ladies with their wiles… always getting nice, bland fellas into trouble.

  18. lucy says:

    Is it really too hard to write an original engaging screenplay of substance and intrigue, that people are compelled to retread benchmarks?

    How about rebuilding the Eiffel Tower somewhere else? Oh yeah, they did…in Vegas. (Eye roll.)

  19. MAC says:

    Bates Motel I saw season 1 was great. They really get the dysfunction, mental illness and especially Normans dissociation plus the way it is filmed and the color. So glad they did the proper psychology research. Ver a and Freddie seem natural working together.

    The thought of anyone messing around with a remake of Rear Window -YUCK!
    Than again I am so tired of Comics and Science fiction….

  20. They already remade this one, so why not again? I mean, sure, the last remake was a black comedy, but it was still a remake.