Simonds says: Hollywood's affection for remaking past hits is evident this summer with an assortment of new films that will arrive as brand names thanks to earlier titles that inspired them to one extent or another.
In the case of Disney's "Herbie: Fully Loaded," however, while its roots are in 1969's "The Love Bug" and its three "Herbie" sequels (from 1974, '77 and '80), the new movie's really not a remake. There are high hopes for the new G-rated family comedy adventure, directed by Angela Robinson and starring Lindsay Lohan, opening Wednesday. Produced by Robert Simonds, it was executive produced by Charles Hirschorn, Tracey Trench and Michael Fottrell. It was written by Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant and Alfred Gough & Miles Millar. Also starring are Justin Long, Breckin Meyer, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton.
Talking recently to Simonds about the making of "Herbie," when I mentioned that we're seeing a lot of films lately that in one way or another springboard off earlier hits, he observed, "You're probably talking to the right guy seeing as I did 'Cheaper By the Dozen' (and) 'Pink Panther' with Steve Martin and I'm shooting 'Yours, Mine and Ours' right now with Dennis Quaid. So I'm definitely involved in a lot of 'remakes,' but this is not a remake. I know that sounds lame because I'm sure every producer says, 'It's not a remake. It's a reinvention.' What we really wanted to do is take the character and stick him on a wholly new adventure. So there are no plot points or jokes or, pardon the pun, retread elements from the older movies. Other than one or two references where he 'pops a wheelie' and that kind of stuff. But the story and emotional through-line, the engine driving the second act, all of these things are completely new."