EXCLUSIVE: Paramount has joined MGM’s effort to mount a musical film remake of 1983’s Valley Girl, the film that helped launch the career of Nicolas Cage. The remake will launch a new feature directing career, as the studios chose Clay Weiner over a number of well-established helmers who wanted the job. Who is Clay Weiner and how did this happen?
Weiner is a prolific commercials director — he helmed the Super Bowl spot for Time Warner Cable with Ricky Gervais and Mary Louise Parker — but his only real credit is the Nickelodeon film Fred: The Movie. He was determined to win the Valley Girl job, and his reps were able to include him among a bunch of helmers who met with studio executives before the holiday. Weiner was the only one who spent the two-week holiday break putting together a three-minute demo reel, paid for out of his own pocket, that featured choreographed dance routines set to a mash-up of the 1980s tunes that will be sung in the film. He demonstrated the spirit, design, costuming and camera work that reflected his vision for the film. It told the studio execs everything they needed to know. This week, they gave Weiner the job and it was the reel that won it for Weiner. Negotiations are now getting underway between the studios and Weiner’s reps at UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
This version of Valley Girl follow the original story of a punk guy with no money from the wrong side of the tracks who sets his sights on winning the affection of a Valley girl with a loutishly preppy boyfriend. In the musical, the actors will sing ’80s New Wave tunes from bands like The Go Go’s and The Cars. MGM has been working on this one for awhile and it is now on a fast track. A script by Amy Talkington is being rewritten by Rachel Getting Married scribe Jenny Lumet. And now the film has a director who, very much like the Valley Girl protagonist, overcame long odds through persistence to get what he wants.
MGM is on a remake tear, as the studio is getting close to start dates on the Jose Padilha-directed Robocop, Joe Carnahan-directed Death Wish, and a Kim Peirce-directed Carrie.