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Robert Downey Jr. May Take the Lead in Remake of Hitchcock’s Classic ‘Vertigo’

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images and Matthias Nareyek / Getty Images and Paramount Pictures / Barney112 / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images and Matthias Nareyek / Getty Images and Paramount Pictures / Barney112 / MovieStillsDB

In March 2023 it was announced that an Alfred Hitchcock remake will soon be in the works, as the rights to his 1958 film Vertigo have been acquired. Acclaimed actor Robert Downey Jr. is said to be eyeing the lead role.

Hitchcock’s Vertigo was originally released in 1958

A movie poster for Alfred Hitchcock's 'Vertigo', showing james Stewart and Kim Novak in an embrace.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo has become a classic and is considered one of the greatest films of all time. (Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / diannecan / MovieStillsDB)

Based on the 1954 novel by Boileau-Narcejac, D’entre les morts, Hitchcock’s Vertigo was originally released in 1958. At the time, the film received mixed reviews, with some feeling as though it was too drawn out and lengthy. However, nowadays Vertigo is seen as a classic and many believe it’s one of the greatest films of all time.

The film stars actor James Stewart as a former police detective forced into retirement following an incident in the line of duty that caused him to develop acrophobia, a fear of heights. As the title suggests, it caused him to develop a serious case of vertigo as well. The character, John “Scottie” Ferguson, is hired as a private investigator to follow a man’s wife, who is behaving erratically.

Vertigo marks the first time the dolly zoom was used in film, and as such, the effect has often been referred to as “the Vertigo effect.” The dolly zoom is an in-camera effect that creates a disorientation meant to express Scottie’s acrophobia.

Robert Downey Jr. is co-producing

Headshot of Robert Downey Jr looking slightly to the right, wearing sunglasses.
Robert Downey Jr. attends the premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming” at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 28, 2017, in Hollywood, California. (Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)

Paramount Pictures is the studio that acquired the film rights. The Hitchcock Estate was happy to have the original studio take on the new project. Steven Knight, known for his work on Peaky Blinders and See, will be writing the script for the film.

Robert Downey Jr. is best known for his portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but has been acting for over 50 years. Downey’s production company, Team Downey, is set to produce the film along with Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox.

This is not the first Hitchcock film to get a remake

Alfred Hitchcock holding a clapperboard.
British film director Alfred Hitchcock holding up a clapperboard on the set of his film, ‘Psycho’, USA, January 29, 1960. (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

As ambitious as taking on a Hitchcock film remake project may sound, this is not the first time it’s been done. In fact, the Vertigo already has a remake in the form of Brian De Palma’s 1976 film, Obsession. Other titles from Hitchcock’s vast library have also seen remakes.

More from us: The Heartfelt Letter Jimmy Stewart’s Father Wrote Him When He Left for WWII

One of Hitchcock’s most famous films, Psycho (1960) saw a remake in Gus Van Sant’s 1998 film of the same name, starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche. Additionally, Dial M for Murder (1954) saw a remake in the form of The Perfect Murder (1998), starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!