There’s no doubt in my mind that cinema is Nicholas Ray. There is not a day in my life where I haven’t thought of the two words together: Nicholas. Ray. Like million others, I was totally devastated by “A Rebel Without A Cause, ” mostly due to the relationship between Jim Stark and John “Plato” Crawford. As a side-line narrative, I was also deeply affected by Stark’s relationship with his dad as well. To this day, I refuse to wear an apron while doing the dishes. I also hunted down Robert M. Lindner's “1944 book “Rebel Without A Cause: The Hypnoanalysis Of A Criminal Psychopath, ” which was the basis for the Ray film. I just recently purchased the film rights to this book, so I can produce a re-make of the film. I’m proud to announce that we just signed Justin Bieber to play Jim Stark, Christopher Walken as Jim’s Dad, and Billy Unger will play Plato. Judy will be played by Selena Gomez, who used to date Bieber, so that will be an interesting sub-text for the film. We also hired Leos Carax to direct the film. We felt that a European approach or point-of-view, will be relevant for this film.
It took me six or seven months, but I located Dean’s original outfit for Jim, and we’re going to have Justin wear it for the film. He’s the exact same size and weight as James Dean, at the time he filmed “Rebel,” so this works out perfectly. We’re also using Irving Shulman and Stewart Stern’s original shooting script for our version as well. There was a scene cut out of the original film, and we’re going to re-shoot it - Jim is dead drunk and he screams at a car in the parking lot, “It’s a little jeep jeep! Little jeep, jeep!” We did a test of this scene with Justin, and it is terrifying with the intensity that he puts in his role. We are also borrowing the 1949 Mercury Coupe that James Dean drove in the film. Luckily the car is in great shape, and is part of the collection at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.
We chose to use Leonard Rosenman’s original score as well. We were thinking of doing something modern, but decided not to do that. At one point, we were considering to utilize Jack Nitzsche’s great album “Chopin ’66” but couldn’t obtain the rights. But this is a blessing, because Rosenman’s score is perfect, and there is no reason why we can’t re-use it again. We will also use the Santa Monica High School and the Griffith Observatory as a location for our version of the film. The only thing is we are going to have to remove the bust of James Dean that is located at the Observatory's west side of the grounds. Shooting will start this October and we’re planning a release on Christmas day 2015.