Odds are you’ve heard someone gripe that “Hollywood only makes sequels and reboots” or “Hollywood is running out of ideas”. While statements of that ilk heavily rely on generalities, they certainly apply in some instances. One such case is Easy Rider.
According to Variety, the Dennis Hopper-directed cult classic that captured a generation of outcasts, hippies, and renegades is next up on the Hollywood remake assembly line. While Columbia Pictures distributed the original film, the adaptation rights currently belong to Maurice Fadida’s Kodiak Pictures, the Jean Boulle Group, and Eric B. Fleischman of Defiant Studios.
“Our goal is to build upon the counterculture and freedom narrative the original left us with, and give the youth of today a film that pays serious attention to their own countercultures and challenges,” Fadida told Variety. “What the young viewers of today are experiencing in their everyday lives may seem crazy to older generations, but it can very well become the societal norm, as was the case with the cultural shift of the late 1960s. We are hoping to play a part in that shift.”
That approach may seem like a suitable way to transpose modern issues onto Easy Rider’s drug-addled biker Odyssey plot, but Fadida is forgetting one thing: motorcycles don’t represent the same things to Boomers and Gen Zers.
We can’t pretend that illicit biker gang activity doesn’t persist until this day. However, motorcycles aren’t the same cultural phenomena as they were in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Appealing to today’s youth with a biker-based narrative seems like an even harder sell considering that many Millennials and Gen Zers remain reluctant to purchase motorcycles themselves.
As a counterargument, let’s not forget that Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M/C consistently drew audiences to their television sets. On the other hand, those properties don’t carry similar artistic/socio-political ambitions or cater to the same audience as Easy Rider. With my “Hollywood is running out of ideas” rant out of the way, I truly hope that Fadida and crew can do Dustin Hopper’s magnum opus justice. As a Millennial motorcyclist, I’ll be pulling for the underdog.