Just when it seemed like Hollywood was close to running out of beloved properties to remake, they’ve broadened their horizons by dipping into the rich pool of Soviet films.
The quintessential Russian New Year film “The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath!” (Ironiya sudby, ili S lyogkim parom!) is now set to receive the Hollywood treatment, its distributor, the Russian Central Partnership production company, announced Wednesday.
A bittersweet romantic comedy about a man who arrives at the right apartment in the wrong city after a New Year’s Eve sauna get-together with friends, “The Irony of Fate” is often regarded as a satirical critique of Soviet realities — the drab uniformity of Brezhnev-era public housing forms the comedy’s key subplot.
The Hollywood adaptation, titled “About Fate,” will be directed by Russia’s Maryus Vaysberg who is well-known in his home country for his work on spoof comedies. Vaysberg’s 2008 debut “Hitler Goes Kaput!” was that year’s box-office bestseller in Russia and Europe despite receiving overwhelmingly negative critic reviews.
The lead female role, played by Polish actress Barbara Brylska in the 1976 original, will be taken on by American Horror Story’s Emma Roberts, while Thomas Mann will succeed Andrey Myagkov to portray the central male character.
“I am extremely excited that our Soviet cultural heritage will become an asset of the entire world,” Central Partnership quoted Vaysberg as saying.
“I have been working on this project for years and, finally, thanks to [producer] Vladimir Koshelev, we were able to create a brilliant screenplay.”
Koshelev will produce the movie alongside Vincent Newman and Marina Bespalova, while Hollywood screenwriter Tiffany Paulsen will adopt the screenplay. Paulsen is best-known as a co-writer of the 2007 mystery-comedy “Nancy Drew” and as the writer and producer of the 2020 Netflix Christmas film “Holidate.”
“About Fate” is due to start filming in Boston in June.
The Soviet romantic comedy, directed and co-written by celebrated filmmaker Eldar Ryazanov, became an instant classic upon its initial release in 1976 and is re-watched by millions of people in Russia and the ex-Soviet states every New Year's Eve.
It’s not the first time “The Irony of Fate” has gotten a modern revisiting — in 2006, Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov released a sequel to mark the 30th anniversary of Ryazanov’s original. That film, which focused on the children of the characters from the original movie, saw box office success despite mixed reviews from both viewers and critics.