UnNews:Ernest goes back to jail for remake

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16 March 2008

Jim Varney as Ernest.

HOLLYWOOD, California -- Just when you thought the recent onslaught of remakes and reboots was behind us, many more titles are to come. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is in the works, as are Friday the 13th, Rosemary's Baby, and April Fool's Day. But no movie about killer tomatoes can top the absurdity of the latest recently-announced remake.

On Friday, Touchstone Pictures, The Weinstein Company, and Platinum Dunes announced that they will be collaborating on an upcoming remake (or re-imagining, rather) of -- are you sitting down? -- Ernest Goes to Jail. No writer or director has been announced, but Michael Bay will executive-produce.

“The time is right for an Ernest movie. The original Ernest Goes to Jail is a cinematic masterpiece, and I am deeply honored to be asked to re-envision it for a new generation.”

~ Michael Bay on the Ernest remake

The role of Ernest P. Worrell -- played in the original series of commercials, TV series, and movies by the late Jim Varney -- has already been cast; Danny Trejo will play the mild-mannered bank janitor, as well as lookalike prisoner Felix Nash.

“Danny Trejo is a very good friend of ours and we chose him because of his striking resemblance to Jim Varney. Danny is a very good actor, extremely versitile, and Ernest fans will not be disappointed.”

~ Harvey Weinstein on Danny Trejo playing Ernest
Hey Vern, it's Ernest?

Trejo, himself an ex-convict, recently played Michael Myers's caretaker/janitor in Rob Zombie's Halloween remake back in August. He says that he is figuring out a way to conceal his mustache while portraying Ernest.

“Yeah, I'm actually workin' with Stan Winston on designin' some latex shit to apply over my 'stache so I look even more like Jimmy Varney. However, when I'm playin' Nash, I can keep the fucking 'stache without shavin' the damn thing off, knowhutImean?”

~ Danny Trejo on playing Ernest and Nash, and concealing his mustache

It is unknown whether or not Ernest's unseen neighbor, Vern, will appear in this film or play any part in it. "We're toying around with the idea of getting Sid Haig or Lew Temple to play Vern," says Harvey Weinstein. "Danny and Lew were great together in [Rob Zombie's remake of] Halloween, and it's always a treat to work with Sid Haig. If all else fails, we'll get Verne Troyer to play Vern or just not use Vern at all."

In the original 1990 film, the third in the movie series, dimwitted bank janitor Ernest P. Worrell (Varney) is assigned jury duty to decide the fate of prisoner Felix Nash (also played by Varney), who murdered a fellow prisoner. A lawyer in the case notices a resemblance and sets up a switcheroo. Hilarity ensues as Ernest has no idea he's in jail, and even more hilarity ensues when he attempts to break out. The film debuted at #1 at the box office in 1990, despite negative reviews. Jim Varney followed the film up with several more movies. One last Ernest movie, Ernest the Pirate, was in post-production when Varney died of lung cancer in 2000; the film was immediately canceled.

"The Ernest franchise has been dormant for far too long," says Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother. "Today's generation doesn't even know who Ernest is or was. The time has come for us to change that, knowhutImean?"

The film is set for release in late 2009 or early 2010.


Noah Ty Min "Next remakes? Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Rosemary's Baby, ...Ernest?". Horror Movies.ca, March 11, 2008

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