David Fincher And ‘Se7en’ Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker Re-Team For ‘Peter Proud’ Adaptation

Fifteen years after working together on “Se7en,” director David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker are reuniting for a new adaptation of Max Ehrlich’s novel “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The book was previously made into a 1975 movie by Ehrlich, who adapted his own work, and J. Lee Thompson, best known for helming the original “Cape Fear.”

As with many films dealing with reincarnation, the plot is pretty ridiculous even if you believe in the concept. A college professor has nightmares involving a murder, which he eventually realizes was his own, from a previous life. And in the process of discovery, he unknowingly becomes romantically involved with his (past incarnation’s) daughter.

Despite the silly and scandalous storyline, Ehrlich’s book could lend itself to an interesting, Hitchcockian sort of psychological thriller. Unfortunately, Thompson’s original film is apparently not good for much more than seeing a pre-“Superman” Margot Kidder pleasure herself in the bath. Not having seen the film (in this life, anyway), in my attempt to familiarize myself with it I learned that that scene and the controversy of the incest plot are basically all that’s remembered of “Peter Proud.”

I have, however, seen “Chances Are,” the 1989 romantic comedy starring Robert Downey Jr. as a reincarnated man who unknowingly dates his (past incarnation’s) daughter, played by Mary Stuart Masterson. It’s obviously inspired by “Peter Proud,” yet it’s a fantastical love story rather than a supernatural thriller. And, of course, Downey Jr. is excellent as usual, even back then.

“Peter Proud” was also the inspiration for the Bollywood film “Karz,” which was popular enough that it was in turn remade three times in India, each from a different one of the nation’s separate film industries.

Fincher, who has some experience with films about identity issues (I won’t spoil the movie I’m primarily thinking of), should be able to turn Ehrlich’s novel into something more serious and respectable than what’s been done previously. After all, the plot of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” could have been laughable in another filmmaker’s hands. As for Walker, who co-scripted the upcoming “Wolfman” remake, “Se7en” is still his best work, so here’s hoping this other collaboration with Fincher is just as good.

One thing I’m curious about: will the incest plot be nixed a la Steven Spielberg and Will Smith’s “Oldboy” remake?

Have you seen the original film of “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” and think David Fincher and Andrew Kevin Walker will improve upon it? Do you find that incest plots are more taboo now than when the original was made?