EXCLUSIVE: Cassian Elwes and Andre Gaines are producing a remake of the 1972 classic revenge thriller Fear is the Key after closing a deal to acquire the rights from StudioCanal. The story, based on a book by Alistair MacLean, takes place in Louisiana and follows the character of John Talbot as he plots an elaborate revenge scheme on the people who killed his family in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. By pretending to be a criminal, Talbot gets close to the culprits, helping them retrieve the priceless cargo of the lost plane from the bottom of the Gulf. Previous MacLean novels include The Guns of Navarone and When Eight Bells Toll, which were also adapted into classic adventure movies.
The original Fear was produced by Elwes’ step-father, Elliott Kastner, who exec produced the film with former Paramount chief Alan Ladd and Jay Kanter. Kastner had previously produced an adaptation of MacLean’s book Where Eagles Dare in 1968, and Fear came about as a result of their relationship. Kastner died in 2010.
“I’ve loved this movie ever since I was a kid,” Elwes said. “It was one of my stepfather’s favorite movies, and my hope is to remake it even better than he did.”
“I’m happy to help Cassian breathe new life into Fear is the Key,” Gaines said. “The film takes the revenge thriller to the next level, and it is the type of movie you want to watch over and over again.”
Blacklist writer Terrell Garrett is currently writing the screenplay for the remake. Garrett is a Cassian Elwes Fellow on The Blacklist, and he was mentored by Elwes during Sundance 2016.
Major indie producer Elwes also has the upcoming Billionaire Boys Club in the pipeline, starring Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey and Emma Roberts. Gaines has the Spanish thriller The Uninvited Guest upcoming. They’re eyeing a winter 2016 start to production.