LOS ANGELES, CA — Paramount Pictures has confirmed rumors that it has begun pre-production on a remake of the John Wayne classic film, Sands of Iwo Jima. The 1949 film about U.S. Marines in World War II was nominated for four Academy Awards and is considered one of the greatest war movies of all time.
“We were going through our rolodex of old movies we planned to remake this year when it just jumped off the page at us,” said head writer Madhuri Vemulakonda.
“It’s got everything: the tough old veteran with the heart of gold, the cynical young kid who learns to take responsibility, the disgraced soldier who finds redemption, all set in the middle of this fictional war against an international terrorist group called JAPS. It’s like Battle: LA meets The Hurt Locker.”
While the cast has not been officially announced, studio executives confirmed they have scrapped earlier plans to cast either Alec Baldwin or Nicolas Cage in the lead role.
In what producers call “a sign of the changing times”, the John Wayne character will be replaced by a female Airman, who takes command of the Marine squad after they become confused and frightened by the sounds of combat. The studio is rumored to be considering either Rihanna or Miley Cyrus as Sergeant Jane Stryker.
The producers credit the idea to the U.S. Air Force, which is said to be heavily involved in writing the script.
“We also wanted John Wayne to have a cameo role,” Vemulakonda explained, “like Leonard Nimoy in the new Star Trek films, but for some reason he won’t return our phone calls. I suppose we could always ask R. Lee Ermey, if he hadn’t already been typecast as that southern mayor in Mississippi Burning.”
The studio has also been mum about who their choice of director is, although Vemulakonda thinks the choice is obvious.
“Sands of Iwo Jima is as American as Jerry Bruckheimer on Flag Day, so I think it’s pretty clear we need to get Oliver Stone.”
Vemulakonda confirmed that he’s already written a scene where one of the Marines is dating a Japanese girl in an internment camp who also has family in Hiroshima, just so Stone can talk about all the injustices committed by the United States during the conflict.
Sources at The Hollywood Reporter also believe Chris Tucker may have a starring role as the unit’s sassy gay black commanding officer, a casting decision Vemulakonda says is necessary to ensure historical accuracy and “lighten the film up a bit.”
In a nod to the international market, Paramount also suggested there will be two alternate endings: the first is where the Japanese win the Battle of Iwo Jima, since market research has shown that Japanese moviegoers prefer films where they don’t lose the war.
Unfortunately, those films also play very badly in China, so there will be an additional ending where the Chinese somehow win the battle, despite their historical lack of participation. Paramount has also discussed completely replacing the Japanese with either North Koreans, space aliens, or giant robots.
“This definitely won’t be your grandfather’s Sands of Iwo Jima,” said Vemulakonda. The film, which has the working title, Semper Fi: A Soldier’s Story, will start shooting this fall.