Burt Reynolds has joined a rare group of actors to appear in the same film twice: the original and the remake. In the original 1974 film The Longest Yard (1974), he starred as former pro quarterback turned convict Paul Crewe. In the remake (starring Adam Sandler as Crewe; ponder that casting choice), Reynolds appears in the film as former football player turned coach Nate Scarboro. (Pop quiz: Who played Scarboro in the original film?)
Chris Rock, Burt Reynolds and Adam Sandler in 'The Longest Yard.'
There have been other film remakes where the original star appears in the remake. Here's a few recent examples along with what impact their characters made in the remake. Plot point or gimmick? You decide.
CAPE FEAR (1992)
The original Cape Fear (1962) laid the groundwork for all stalker thrillers of the last 40-plus years. Plus great casting. Robert Mitchum (a badass on and off screen) stalking upstart Americana everyman Gregory Peck. That's right, Night Of The Hunter vs. To Kill A Mockingbird. The remake (Robert DeNiro vs. Nick Nolte) features the original stars in cameo roles, Mitchum as a jaded police officer and Peck as a righteous Southern lawyer (the Anti-Aticus Finch).
Film impact: None, but remake director Martin Scorsese was obviously salivating at the chance of having two legends in his film.
THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1999)
The original 1968 film pitted Steve McQueen (a sophisticated man of society moonlighting as a thief) up against Faye Dunaway as an insurance investigator. She wants to nail him and winds up ... well ... nailing him. In the remake (Pierce Brosnan vs. Rene Russo), Dunaway appears briefly as Brosnan's shrink.
Film impact: None. The few moments Brosnan has with Dunaway could have been spent doing unmentionable things with Russo. The original is still very good. While the original has the seductive chess match between the two stars, the remake has one of the best dance moments captured on film (not to mention Rene Russo's black Kleenex of a dress).
GET CARTER (2000)
The 1971 Get Carter is one of the greatest revenge films ever made (along-side Point Blank and The Limey). Michael Caine is as cold as ever as a criminal out to get whoever popped off his brother. The remake (with a goateed Sylvester Stallone as the star) features Caine as an ally ... or is he?
Film impact: None. In fact, the remake has no impact at all. None. Nothing. Nada.
PLANET OF THE APES (2001)
The 1968 original has Charlton Heston stuck on a planet where apes evolved from men. In the remake, he shows up as, gasp, an aging ape.
Film impact: None. C'mon, how can you top lines like "Get your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty apes," "It's a madhouse!" and "Goddamn you all to hell!" Plus the remake has one of the dumbest final moments in the history of film.
In the original 1971 cult classic, Richard Roundtree played the man who would risk his neck for his brother man. Can you dig it? In the remake, Samuel L. Jackson plays John Shaft while Roundtree plays Uncle J, aka Uncle John Shaft. Uh ... yeah.
Film impact: Roundtree's character does help his bad mutha ... nephew with his case and it is a nice homage. However, Roundtree could do nothing about Jeffrey Wright stealing the film with his performance as the villain Peoples. Call me when Jackson appears in a remake of Shaft In Africa.
Pop Quiz Answer: Michael Conrad portrayed Nate Scarobo in the original Longest Yard. That's right, Sgt. Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues.
Matthew Socey's film reviews can be heard on The Art Of The Matter (WFYI 90.1 FM), Abdul In the Morning (WXNT 1430 AM), Steve & Kelly (WTPI 107.9 FM) and The Q Wake Up Crew (QMIX 107.3FM).