The Big Picture
- Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are teaming up to bring the classic thriller Cape Fear to TV. The two cinema titans will produce a new series based on the intense bidding war-inducing story.
- The TV series will modernize Cape Fear by exploring America’s obsession with true crime. It will center around a married pair of lawyers grappling with their past sins when a notorious killer is released from prison.
- Cape Fear has had a lasting impact on pop culture, with its imagery, score, and aura of menace becoming iconic. The 1991 remake inspired one of The Simpsons’ best episodes, “Cape Feare”.
Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg have joined forces for the first time. The two titans of cinema will collaborate to bring the classic thriller Cape Fear to TV. Deadline reports that Scorsese and Spielberg will both produce a new TV series based on Cape Fear, which is now the subject of an intense bidding war from the studios. They will produce it with Nick Antosca, who will also showrun and write the series.
Antosca’s treatment for the series will modernize it into a look at America’s obsession with true crime. In a departure from its source material, the show will concern a married pair of lawyers who are faced with the sins of their past when an infamous killer is released from prison. Spielberg and Scorsese both have a Cape Fear connection. Spielberg was originally slated to direct the 1991 remake of Cape Fear, but passed the project on to Scorsese, who in turn gave Spielberg the project he had been working on: Schindler’s List.
What is ‘Cape Fear’?
Based on the 1957 novel The Executioners, by John D. MacDonald, 1962’s Cape Fear starred Gregory Peck as Sam Bowden, a lawyer who finds himself in the crosshairs of Max Cady (Robert Mitchum), a merciless criminal who was sentenced to jail thanks to Bowden’s testimony. Released from jail, Cady wages a psychological war on Bowden and his family before a final, brutal confrontation on a houseboat in North Carolina’s Cape Fear region. With the confident direction of J. Lee Thompson, superb performances from Peck and Mitchum, and a chilling, unforgettable score by Bernard Hermann, the film became a classic. Scorsese remade it in 1991, with Nick Nolte as Bowden and Robert De Niro as Cady; the supporting cast included Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis, Joe Don Baker, and Peck and Mitchum in small roles. The remake made text of what was subtext in the original, and featured shocking scenes of violence and brutality. It was a massive success, making over $180 million at the box office on a $35 million budget, and netting Oscar nominations for De Niro and Lewis.
Cape Fear‘s imagery, lingering aura of menace, and chilling score have earned a place in the pop culture firmament. The 1991 remake was a key inspiration for one of The Simpsons‘ finest hours, “Cape Feare”; Collider’s Lloyd Farley considered it to be the best Sideshow Bob episode of the series’ lengthy run.The new Cape Fear series is currently in pre-production. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates, and watch the trailer for the 1991 remake of Cape Fear below.
- Release Date
- November 15, 1991
- Martin Scorsese
- Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis
- 128 minutes
- Main Genre
- Crime, Thriller
- John D. MacDonald, James R. Webb, Wesley Strick