Remakes have been a thing almost since the dawn of film as a medium for telling stories, what with James Whale’s 1931 Frankenstein technically being the second motion picture to adapt the Mary Shelley novel. That said, when is a remake not a remake? When it’s a stealth sequel, and according to Kiefer Sutherland, that’s exactly what Sony’s upcoming Flatliners remake/reboot really is.
In a recent interview with UK entertainment news outlet Metro, Sutherland confirmed what many have suspected ever since it was announced that the original Flatliners star would return for what has long been referred to as a remake: the film will actually be a belated follow-up to its 1990 inspiration, and Sutherland will be reprising his old role.
“I play a professor at the medical university,” says Sutherland. “It is never stated but it will probably be very clearly understood that I’m the same character I was in the original Flatliners but that I have changed my name and I’ve done some things to move on from the experiments that we were doing in the original film.”
As any fan of the first Flatliners will recall, Sutherland’s character of Nelson Wright was the true driving force behind the life and death experiments that took place among his circle of friends, relentlessly pushing things further after most of the other participants were too afraid to continue.
So far, there’s no indication that any other cast members from Flatliners 1990 will be back, but it’s possible the studio might be playing coy on the subject. At the very least, a Julia Roberts appearance can probably be ruled out, if only because she’s a much bigger, more in-demand star now than she was then. Sony’s new Flatliners hits theaters on August 18th, 2017.