A remake of The Diary of Anne Frank? Cool. And David Mamet doing the adaptation? Even cooler. The script that Mamet ultimately turned in? Apparently not so cool.
The Wrap reports that Disney has put the project into turnaround due to the fact that Mamet’s script was too dark to produce. Also, it simply wasn’t a retelling of the Frank family’s story taken from the diary of Anne. Instead, Mamet wrote about a contemporary Jewish girl who travels to Israel and learns about the horrors of suicide bombing. The story winds up being a modern exploration of Anti-Semitism.
Let me first say that I am fine with all of this due to the fact that Mamet is one of the great writers of the last quarter century. The script that he produced was probably brilliant and worthy of production at any other studio. It’s just a little strange that he took the Frank story and produced that after what they clearly wanted was just another Anne Frank film. I don’t mean to sound blase about the prospect of another Anne Frank film. The material hasn’t been touched as a feature narrative since George Stevens adaptation in 1959. I think another retelling would be pretty sweet.
But Disney sees things differently. With former chairman Dick Cook’s sudden exit, the current management seems reticent about greenlighting anything that might seem provocative, and Mamet’s script definitely falls under the heading. What to do, Dave? Get your management to release the material and take it to Fox Searchlight where they will turn it into a piece of Oscar work. Sound good?