Casablanca 2: Electric Boogaloo? Will Warner Bros. “Play It Again?”
In 1941, Michael Curtiz directed one of the greatest films of all time: Casablanca.
Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and set during World War II, it focused on a man torn between, in the words of one character, love and virtue. He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape from the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.
Jump ahead 71 years, and there’s a buzz in Hollywood for a followup to the classic film, following long past rumors and attempts.
Since it’s release in 1941, fans have argued back and forth to what exactly happened to Rick (Bogart) and Ilsa (Bergman) after those end credits rolled, but not many thought of an actual Casablanca 2. But, in a recent article in the New York Post, we might actually see the day where Return to Casablanca is listed next to the latest superhero film in the showtimes.
Based on a treatment written by one of the original screenwriters of Casablanca, Howard Koch, the sequel would have taken place 20 years after the original film with Rick and Ilsa’s son returning to search of his biological father.
Koch’s Return to Casablanca treatment was worked on for many years through the 1980s and in 1988 the following synopsis was released:
“[Ilsa and Laszlo] attempted to locate Rick after he and Renault left to join the Free French forces opposing Rommel in North Africa. They have had no success. After leaving Casablanca for America, Ilsa learned she was pregnant. She gave birth to a boy who grew up in America. The real father of the boy, it turns out, was not Laszlo but Rick. He was conceived the night Ilsa came to Rick’s place to plead for the Letters of Transit…The secret was not kept from Laszlo, but being the kind of man he was and owing so much to Rick, he adopted the child and treated him as his own son. The boy was named Richard, and 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. Richard finds himself very much 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.”
According to New York Post, Warner Bros. passed on the film in ’89 and again in 2010. However, producer Cass Warner (granddaughter of co-founder Henry Warner) has been reported as saying, “They indicated they were willing to revisit this if I could find a filmmaker they were interested in working with.” Producers are also claiming that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make a great replacement for Humphrey Bogart for the role of Rick.
Now, none of this really means Casablanca 2 will happen, but it definitely could happen and I don’t want to be around when the world collectively says Hollywood is out of original ideas.