Madonna wants to remake Casablanca

By CAROLINE GRAHAM - More by this author »
Last updated at 21:16pm on 29th March 2008

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Madonna Unicef party Feb 2008

Play it again Madge: Madonna is hoping to resurrect her ailing film career

It is one of the greatest films of Hollywood's golden era, a triple
Oscar-winning classic with electrifyingly charismatic stars and a
script bursting with memorable lines.

But now Madonna has stunned the movie industry with plans to remake Casablanca – and this time set it in Iraq.

The singer, whose previous film career has been littered with
critical and commercial turkeys, is also planning to take the lead role
of Ilsa Lund, which originally made a star of Ingrid Bergman.

A source at a major Hollywood studio that was recently
approached by the 49-year-old star said: "She is still determined to
make it in the movies.

"She and her representatives have been touting around a project
which is a remake of Casablanca. The reception has been lukewarm to say
the least. No one can understand why she wants to redo what many people
consider the greatest film of all time."

In the 1942 original, Bergman starred opposite Humphrey Bogart,
who played Rick Blaine, a cynical bar owner in the Moroccan city of
Casablanca in the early days of the Second World War. Ilsa is torn
between love for her husband, a Czech Resistance leader, and her
ex-lover Rick.

Madonna is said to believe the film will make her reputation as
an actress, after a string of high-profile flops such as Shanghai
Surprise, Body Of Evidence and Swept Away, her much-derided 2002
collaboration with husband Guy Ritchie.

The source said: "Madonna is talking about taking the Ingrid
Bergman role for herself, even though Bergman was in her 20s when she
played Ilsa and Madonna is nearly 50.

"She wants to update the story and maybe set it in a modern war zone such as Iraq. There is no script yet.

"Madonna and her people are testing the waters to see if this is
the right vehicle for her and if a major studio will get behind the

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Casablanca Humphrey Bogart Ingrid Bergman

Classic: Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 original

The movie, which regularly tops lists of the greatest films ever
made, includes the classic song As Time Goes By and memorable quotes
such as: "Here's looking at you, kid", "We'll always have Paris" and
"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she walks into

But one of the lines most closely associated with Casablanca –
"Play it again, Sam"– is a misquotation. In fact, Ilsa says: "Play it
once, Sam, for old times' sake. Play it, Sam." Later, Rick says: "You
played it for her and you can play it for me. If she can stand it, I
can. Play it!"

Bollywood filmmaker Rajeev Nath is also said to be working on a remake set in India, calling it "a tribute to the original".

A spokeswoman for Madonna refused to comment.

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Madgablanca: How a poster for the new movie might look

And here's how she might 'improve' the classic script

Of all the Kabbalah meetings in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Here's looking at you, kid. Now who do we have to pay to adopt him?

We'll always have Basra... I think this is the beginning of a beautiful fitness regime...

I stick my neck out for nobody - just in case they see the wrinkles.

It doesn't take much to see that Saddam's Weapons of Mass
Destruction arsenal didn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy

If you watch this remake, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.