The Thin Man series, created by Dashiell Hammett, is best known from the six films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The duo star as detectives Nick and Nora Charles, who spend as much time fighting crime as fighting hangovers. They are very wet movies, and the charm of the series is that their relationship is strong, but they drink to excess. Such may have been more charming in the 1930′s, but Johnny Depp has been shepherding a remake for his current Pirates of the Caribbean director Rob Marshall, and now (as reported by The Hollywood Reporter) the script is being worked on by Jerry Stahl.
If the original series is boozy fun, it will be interesting to see what Stahl brings to the table. His most famous work is Permanent Midnight, which is his autobiography about being addicted to heroin while working as a writer on shows like “Alf.” Stahl more recently co-wrote Bad Boys 2 (with a number of other credited and uncredited writers), wrote a number of “CSI” episodes, and co-wrote the HBO movie Hemingway & Gellhorn which Phillip Kaufman is currently directing, and stars Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. Stahl has done comedy, but it’s the mixture of investigation and the chemistry of the leads that made the original films work.
The Thin Man remake was talked up by Depp in October when Warner Brothers put the project into development, and this is the most substantial news in the last six months. The delay may have to do with Depp and Marshall finishing up Pirates 4.
The biggest hurdle for the project will be the casting of the female lead. Depp will need someone who can knock him around and smoke, drink and cuss just as well as he can. Nora may be a socialite in the original version, but she’s no wuss and the fun of the franchise has always been their great relationship. There just aren’t that many working actresses who have what Myrna Loy had.
Have you seen the original Thin Man (you should, it’s a lot of fun)?