If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Of all the films to which we were clamoring for a sequel, 'Raging Bull' was not at all in the arena. Martin Scorsese's masterful account of the life of boxer Jake La Motta, based on the man's own autobiography, is not the kind of story that demands a followup...especially thirty-two years later. However, that's just what RB II Productions sought to bring us when they purchased the rights from La Motta to produce a film version of his followup memoirs. The new film was planned to be equal parts sequel and prequel to Scorsese's movie with William Forsythe stepping into the role of La Motta, the role so memorably portrayed by Robert De Niro in the original. MGM has filed suit against RB II and La Motta claiming that La Motta signed a contract that would give MGM dibs on any potential "author-written sequel." The 1986 second book was never brought to MGM and now they want production shut down, and aim to never let the sequel see the light of day. They are also demanding punitive damages.
For once, I find myself 100% behind the studio filing the lawsuit. Sure, they had their contract and La Motta and RB II are in clear violation of that contract, so their case is airtight. However, the real reason I am in the studio's corner here is that I too hope a 'Raging Bull' sequel never sees the light of day. The ridiculous thing to me is that the book is supposed to partially be a prequel and the only actor they've mentioned in conjunction with the project is William Forsythe. Don't get me wrong, I like the guy, but he's not exactly in peak physical condition. He might be able to play even-more-bloated Jake, but asking us to buy him any younger than De Niro was at the end of the first 'Raging Bull' is absurd. MGM feels that this slapped-together cash-grab of a sequel will tarnish the value of the first film. While I don't agree with that, a bad sequel/prequel/remake should never make you like the original film less, I am glad that there will be one less needless, low rent, and entirely unnecessary sequel sitting on the shelves of my local videostore.