I’m not sure if anyone remembers this strange project from the pre-Covid world (2018) – a spy thriller based on ‘Casablanca’ that was funded, directed, and acted by Michael Flatley.
When it was first announced, the film got something of a savage reception (apparently, reviewers were dubbing it “one of the biggest vanity projects since John Travolta’s Battlefield Earth”). As a result, it never actually received a general release, proving something of an expense for Flatley in that it ended up costing at least £2.94 million in production costs (which, given other, more famous, film failures, isn’t actually an enormous sum).
I have a lot of respect for creatives who think outside the norm and experiment with new forms and formats of storytelling but, even at the time, this one seemed a bit… unusual. Flatley is known for his Riverdance as opposed to his acting (the film was produced by produced by ‘Dance Lord Productions’) and this venture into a ‘Casablanca homage’ felt more like a fantasy-driven regurgitation rather than a creative attempt to try something unique or different.
I guess we’ll never know … although it’s possible the film will remain hidden in a dusty vault for decades only to be rediscovered one bright day far into the future and lauded as a ‘true classic’.