It nearly feels blasphemous to continue, but reports are coming together that Warner Bros. may be continuing the story of Michael Curtiz‘s 1942 Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman-led classic Casablanca in a new feature film sequel. At the end of the month we’ll be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the New York City premiere for the drama, which some consider to have the greatest screenplay of all-time, so how could one possibly follow it up?
Before you start a riot just yet, this new script would be based on a treatment from original co-writer himself, Howard Koch. Written back in 1980, this story would not pick up directly after Rick sends Ilsa off with her husband, Laszlo. Instead, we’d continue in 1961, following Rick and Illsa’s son (conceived in the first film, when Illsa begged Rick for The Letters of Transit). In this proposed sequel, their son, named Richard, would head to the Middle East in an attempt to find his father.
As the New York Post reports, “he grew up to be a handsome, tough-tender young man reminiscent of his father. He had been told the truth about his origin and has a deep desire to find his real father, or at least more about him, since Rick’s heroic at actions in Casablanca have become legendary.’’ The son would now be a “stranger in the Arab world, a world now under Arab rule since the expulsion of the Germans and Vichy French who occupied Casablanca during the war.” After learning the cafe in the original was blown up by Nazis, he would link up with an Arab woman named Joan (inspired by Joan Baez) and join in on her citizen’s movement to find Nazi outlaws.
Lou Lumenick has lots more details on the proposed project, but there is one major condition it would take before coming to screen. Cass Warner, who is in the WB family, was the one to discovered this treatment from Koch and is attempting to spearhead the project, going under the title Return to Casablanca. Although they passed on the project around 18 months ago, the studio reportedly said they would be interested in returning to it if they could find the right filmmaker. This begs the question if we would even see any top director (my mind goes to Christopher Nolan, as one such example that the studio clearly loves) attempt to follow up such a classic. Warner hints they’d have to find the perfect casting for the son and float that Joseph Gordon-Levitt could make a good fit, but we’ve got a long, likely impossible road to head down before we get to step in the process.
Would you actually want to see this sequel? Who could be the right directorial fit for WB?