Dueling Cannonball Run Remakes: Pitt vs Stiller

The Cannonball Run (1981) Poster

Brad_PittIf you had to choose between a remake of Cannonball Run directed by Guy Ritchie and starring his Snatch actor Brad Pitt, or a Shawn Levy version featuring Ben Stiller, which would you pick? (Don’t say neither.)

According to New York Magazine, that’s exactly what The Godfather producer Al Ruddy is doing with his developing redo, as well as which studio will shepherd it to the screen: Ritchie’s trusty WB or Levy’s family-friendly home at 20th Century Fox.

Each obviously comes with a rather drastic shift in tone. Ritchie, who we’ve been hearing is the top pick since February, would turn it into a European adrenaline-fueled thriller with Pitt and some of his industry buddies at the wheels (a la Ocean’s Eleven). George Clooney was previously rumored for the lead, the one played by Burt Reynolds in the 1981 original. On the other hand, Levy would likely bring Stiller and his Night at the Museum antics for broader appeal. I know what I’d pick and so does anyone who saw Ritchie’s BMW short film/commercial, “The Hire” (see below, it gets good at 4:19), featuring his ex-wife Madonna.

But Ritchie could be partnering with a different car company this time, namely the second-largest in the world, Ben_StillerGeneral Motors. GM is looking to sponsor the entire two hours by putting up production dollars, not just product placement like the kind that helped fund Paramount’s continuing Transformers series. This mean they’ll be able to load the cross-country race with its own cars, including Corvettes and Camaros. Who knows, maybe they’ll even throw a zippy hybrid in there. Or a little OnStar banter.

NY Magazine draws the connection between Pitt, Ritchie and GM: they’re all represented by the world’s leading talent agency, CAA. Only GM is partially owned by the government (U.S. 27%, Canada 12%). How will fiscally-focused Americans react to a remake with GM money?