Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson are writing this new adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's novel, which centers on a troubled German soldier in World War I and how the war takes a toll on him. Here's what Mimi Leder had to say about the project, and how it compares to the original All Quiet on the Western Front, which won the Best Picture Oscar in 1930.
"Even though the original film was made in 1930 at the advent of the talkies, I was moved by its depiction of the terrible senseless brutality of war. With this version, most of it takes place in the last 24 hours of the war. WWI fighting was brutal, hand-to-hand and ugly, and it practically wiped out a generation of young men. What is so compelling is the catastrophic levels of violence, this mind-numbing savagery, and what happens to a boy who in the journey to becoming a man has to become an animal. War destroys the humanity of this young man, stripping away his ability to feel, and making him act like a beast. Taken with the emotionality of how this young boy joined the war out of nationalism as many of our boys do to keep America safe, there is a message here about what happens to them and the politicians who are making war. It's alarming how little this has changed. There is an opportunity to make a great film about war, but it is also an anti-war film, an un-romanticized version of war and its consequences."
Production is aiming to start in late 2012, possibly on location in Europe.