Wait, the Bad Lieutenant Remake is NOT a Remake?

To be honest with you, I’m neither for or against the upcoming Werner Herzog movie “Bad Lieutenant” (since retitled: “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” because, well, just calling it “Bad Lieutenant” wasn’t long and simple enough, apparently), but I am surprised to learn that it isn’t actually a remake of the 1992 Abel Ferrara film of the same name that originally starred Harvey Keital. So, what, no nuns getting raped? Instead, it’s more of a, er, I don’t know, really. The setting has changed, too, now we’re in post-Katrina New Orleans instead of New York.

Here, I’ll let the stars of the movie explain it for ya. They seem to know more about it than me.

Last week, Cage told MTV this about the “remake” that isn’t a remake — the most interesting departure? His character, for one:

“It’s a new version of ‘Bad Lieutenant’ in a whole new place. [Herzog] connects it to Bond – like there was more than one Bond,” Cage told MTV News. “[I play] a whole new character. He’s nothing like Harvey [Keitel’s] character.”

Herzog has gone on record as saying that one of the things which most attracted him to the project was a chance to dabble a little in film noir. But while the style might be somewhat new for the legendary director, the underlying themes and questions will be anything but, Cage insisted.

“[The original] movie was a result of Judeo-Christian programming,” Cage said of where the two will most diverge. “This one is much more existential.”

So, if it’s not a strict remake, why keep the title? Just to get some free press? That would seem to be the case.

Today, Eva Mendes told MTV this:

“I play a character who is Nicholas Cage’s love interest, and she is a working girl, she is a prostitute who is very damaged,” Eva Mendes said of her hitherto secret character in the film. “I’m a prostitute so I’m a criminal in that sense, but it’s kinda hard to explain. There’s actually a very sweet love story between Nic’s character and mine, in a very warped and dark, dark world.”

Dark, but not despairing, pointed out Mendes, who said that the grim and brutal tone of the original film, it’s violence and sexuality especially, will not carry over to Herzog’s version.

“[The original was] very provocative and harsh for the sake of being provocative and harsh and in your face, and although I do have a provocative streak about me, it’s never for shock value. I don’t want to be shocked in any way,” Mendes said, visibly shaking while talking. “Certainly there is nothing that I was in this film that was like that.”

So it’s not a remake, despite the name, and it has nothing to do with the 1992 original — again, despite the name. Man, whoever came up with this idea sure went through a whole lot of trouble to piss off a bunch of people for absolutely no reason. Well, if you don’t count the free press, I mean. What’s that they say about Hollywood? Oh, right. Any press is good press…

Below: Eva Mendes reminds us that hats are cool — as long as you’re not wearing anything else. And, um, you look like Eva Mendes.

Eva Mendes