Classic 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen is getting a remake at Warner Bros., and David Ayer (Suicide Squad, End Of Watch) has been tapped to direct. Simon Kinberg, who wrote and produced much of Fox’s X-Men franchise before making his directorial debut with this year’s Dark Phoenix, will produce.
The original Dirty Dozen was directed by Robert Aldrich, and focused on a crew of expendable criminals and scoundrels recruited to cross enemy lines during WWII and assassinate a number of German personnel.
It was infamous at the time for its violence, and also boasted a huge, unique ensemble cast, including Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Robert Ryan, and Donald Sutherland.
Ayer is an interesting choice here. The premise of The Dirty Dozen isn’t too dissimilar to Suicide Squad, which was roundly panned, so it seems strange to hire Ayer to make a similar film only set during the war. Ayer also followed that film up with the Netflix original Bright, which also received poor reviews.
Ayer has proved he can direct good films in the past, so maybe this is just a big blip, but taking the helm of a remake of a war classic at this point in his career might not be the best move. Perhaps Warner Bros. is hoping for something more along the lines of Fury, Ayer’s 2014 war movie that starred Brad Pitt. That was certainly a dirty, grimy film, so maybe he can recapture that.
It will be interesting to track which stars are brought on board for the ensemble. Considering the likely budget for the remake, it’s hard to expect star power anything close to what the 1967 original boasted, but this version will likely have a few big names above the title, augmented by some up-and-comers and character actors.
Ayer also has the crime thriller The Tax Collector in the works, which stars Fury star Shia LaBeouf, as well as tank battle thriller El-Alamein at Lionsgate.