The critically acclaimed foreign language film Toni Erdmann (read our review), which is currently on the Oscars’ shortlist, is just the type of family comedy ripe for a Hollywood remake. Granted, some of the uninhibited nudity and similarly wild situations in the film are not typical to American cinema, but the story that it boils down to is undeniably relatable – a fact that has critics and viewers alike falling in love with the film.
Toni Erdmann follows a father and adult daughter who have become somewhat estranged through the natural progression of living life and growing apart. When the father interrupts his daughter’s social and work life as a character he has invented, Toni Erdmann, the relationship rule-book is thrown out the window. Peter Simonischek and Sandra Huller play the familial duo.
In a recent interview with Germany’s Bild, director Maren Ade revealed that she is not opposed to the idea at all. According to the director:
This would not affect the original. You can shorten the film and make a pure comedy out of [it]. But I would not be the one to do it. I am so happy that I finished the film. It took me five and a half years to write.
Shorten it, they would indeed. The film runs for nearly three hours, and while this is not an unheard of concept, American audiences have not taken all that well to epic-length comedies in the past – This is 40 or Funny People are two examples whose success was buoyed on the film’s director Judd Apatow and known stars like Paul Rudd, or Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen. It would be ideal, then, for the potential remake to get well-known actors to fill the film’s father-daughter roles.
Although fans of the German film may stray away from an English-language remake (the severe German comedy and mannerisms are complementary components to the film), the film’s general story and comedy, like Ade touches upon, is essential viewing material for everyone and would likely find a home with English-language audiences.
Toni Erdmann has won Best Foreign Language Film at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as with the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. We will be able to see how it fairs with Oscar voters very soon as well.