Canoe (Ca), April 10, 2002

DreamWorks wins Keanu's 'Billy Jack' remake

"Billy Jack," the bare-foot, butt-kicking, '70s counter-culture anti-hero, has a new home.

The planned remake of the cult classic, with Keanu Reeves selected to play the title role, has been picked up by DreamWorks, Variety reports.

The studio snapped up the rights to the remake (which is being produced by Danny De Vito's Jersey Films) because the original is arguably the most successful indie film ever.

"They say 'Blair Witch' sold 30 million tickets, but we sold 65 million when there were 80 million less people in the world," Tom Laughlin, the film's star and creator, told Variety.

"The film would stay in the same theatre for a year. It was colossally profitable," he said.

The original film starred Laughlin as a pacifist loner who reluctantly resorts to violence to defend a hippie commune from local rednecks. The original spawned a series of sequels. Laughlin told Variety he believes the timing of a "Billy Jack" comeback is perfect.

"People are lost today, and they always tell me we need another Billy Jack, who stood for moral and spiritual values and psychic truths," he said.

Variety reported that Laughlin has spent his time away from acting teaching Jungian psychology at Yale and Stanford.

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