A few weeks back I heard a song on the radio and part of it triggered a tune in my head. Only a few notes of a completely different tune, on repeat and driving me nuts because I couldn't remember what it was from. You know how that goes.
Five minutes of hard thinking later and I had reconstructed most of the tune in my head. Another minute later I suddenly recognized what it was: John Barry's excellent score from "The Persuaders!"
. And I remembered really, REALLY liking the series back when I saw it in the seventies, and later the reruns in the eighties and nineties. So I checked for availability. Lo and behold: last year it was released on BluRay and I'm currently rewatching the entire series in almost-too-glorious HD (like many series of its time, "The Persuaders!"
was shot on 35mm). And even though it's now incredibly dated, it is also still a load of fun.
For those of you who've never seen it, the setup was this: Roger Moore (post-Saint, pre-Bond) and Tony Curtis played Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde, two filthy rich playboys idling away their time on the Côte d'Azur. But then they get recruited by a retired judge, and they get a new job-slash-hobby: investigating the kind of criminals that normally never get convicted. Witty hijinks and plenty of fisticuffs ensue, along with much wooing of beautiful young women...
What set the series apart was the (for the time) high production values, the writing and the two stars. Limited though he may be as an actor, Roger Moore was perfect as a decadent English Lord living it up in the South of France, and Tony Curtis gave proper counterweight as the brash and common self-made millionaire Danny Wilde. The constant banter between the two was often ad-libbed by the two actors and their chemistry was a big factor in making the series a success.
Amongst the extras on the BluRay set was some information concerning remake attempts. To my surprise, several movie versions have been toyed with in the past fifteen years. Get this:
In 1998, Nicholas Cage was eyed as a new Danny, while for Lord Sinclair the possible choices were Hugh Grant and Ewan McGregor.
In 2005, Dreamworks wanted to make a version with Ben Stiller and Steve Coogan.
In 2007, a version was planned with George Clooney and Hugh Grant (again).
All these attempts never made it to an actual production stage, but the very notion of a Persuaders remake is intriguing. The original series is indeed dated and a new version would hardly harm it. Indeed, Tony Stark as played by Robert Downey jr. has shown several times over that the world still likes decadent rich people as long as there is enough wit and fun to accompany them.
And this time the team-up doesn't necessarily need to be between an American and an Englishman: there are plenty of Chinese and Russian millionaires roaming the European beaches these days, so there are many other combination opportunities for extreme opulence and culture clashing.
OK. Long story, short question:
Which actors would make a fine pair of current-time Persuaders?
HAVE YOUR SAY!
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