Jake Gyllenhaal and Conor McGregor are set to star in a remake of the classic ‘80s action film – here’s everything you need to know about it.
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal stole the show at UFC 285 when the actor appeared ripped, mean, and in-character to film scenes for Road House, the upcoming remake of the 1989 cult hit that starred Patrick Swayze.
Although Road House was modestly successful at the box office, the film was a hit with its home entertainment release, first beginning with strong VHS sales, and then with DVD and Blu-ray. Road House also found an audience when released on cable and later streaming. The film turned lead actor Patrick Swayze into an action star and has embedded itself in pop culture with Swayze’s memorable performance and the film’s numerous corny-yet-cool lines a fixture in the lexicon of those who love ‘80s action movies.
Road House is now being remade with Gyllenhaal starring in the lead role and UFC superstar Conor McGregor also cast in a pivotal role. This is not the first time, however, that Road House has been marked for a remake – and those of you familiar with the original might be wondering what UFC’s got to do with all of it…
What was the original Road House about?
Road House starred Patrick Swayze as Dalton, a renowned “cooler” (i.e. bouncer) with a mysterious past who is hired to take over security at a club in Jasper, Missouri named the Double Deuce – the kind of place where “there’s blood on the floor every night”.
Dalton quickly makes his presence known as an incorruptible and dangerous force able to stand toe-to-toe with any man placed in front of him. This leads Dalton to be the target of Brad Weasley (Ben Gazzara) the local crime boss and business magnate who will stop at nothing to run Dalton out of town.
Watch the trailer for the original Road House below.
An ’80s action-Western with plenty of martial arts fight scenes and gratuitous nudity, Road House has become a guilty pleasure cult classic since its 1989 theatrical release, with many fans of action cinema in love with the violently cheesy action scenes that range from bar-room brawls to mano-a-mano martial arts fight sequences, as well as the ever-quotable dialogue from which gems such as “pain don’t hurt” and “I want you to be nice until it’s time to not be nice” were first uttered.
Patrick Swayze’s most underrated role
Key to it all is Swayze’s performance as Dalton. Fresh off the back of hit movie Dirty Dancing, Swayze wanted to take on a much more masculine, gritty, and physical role that would capitalise on his athleticism, with the Texan-born actor a trained dancer and star high school football player.
For the extensive fight scenes in Road House, Swayze was trained by champion kickboxer Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, who would claim that Swayze was so good he could have become a competitive fighter. Swayze’s insistence on performing his own stunts during the testosterone-heavy production often resulted in the actor being bloodied and bruised, and in one instance sustaining broken ribs.
Just as entertaining was the philosophical and even at times spiritual leanings of the Dalton character, which Swayze portrayed with steadfast earnest. Scenes featuring a shirtless, sweaty Swayze doing tai-chi on a Missouri ranch, are combined with what can only be described as “Dalton-isms” in which the mullet-haired bouncer with a philosophy degree from NYU shares wisdom such as “nobody ever wins a fight” and “my way… or the highway.”
Also starring Sam Elliot (A Star is Born) and Kelly Lynch (Drugstore Cowboy), Road House has proven to be an entertaining so-bad-its-good slice of ‘80s filmmaking that many still have a fondness for, and others have tried and failed to capitalise on. We reckon it’s Swayze’s most underrated role, and it’s a must-watch for anyone who’s into ’80s schlock.
Ronda Rousey was originally going to play Dalton in the remake
After an ill-advised and universally panned sequel titled Road House 2 – starring Johnathon Schaech as Dalton’s son – was released in 2006, plans for a Road House remake had been in development hell for almost a decade.
Reports of a Road House remake first surfaced in 2013, with Fast and Furious director Rob Cohen tapped to direct the film. Two years later, it was reported that former UFC star Ronda Rousey had signed on to play the lead role, with The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes on board to write and direct. Sources said at the time that Rousey reached out to Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, to ask for her blessing to play the iconic Swayze character, which Niemi gave.
One person who was not impressed with the casting of Rousey was hardcore wrestling legend and original Road House cast member Terry Funk, who said it was “bulls**t” and that Rousey “don’t belong in there!”
During press for her 2015 title challenge against Holly Holm at UFC 193, Rousey responded to her casting in the Road House remake saying: “It’s a lot of pressure. This is not something that I took; it’s something that I pursued. For like two years it was ‘I want to do Road House!’”
“There is a lot of pressure because it is such a beloved movie and a classic and everybody loves it, but that’s one reason why I wanted to do it so much because I don’t think anybody cares as much as I do about it and want to do a good job as much as I do.”Ronda Rousey
It was during this time that Rousey began her film career with performances in The Expendables 3, the Entourage film, and Fast & Furious 7. Rousey would also lose her UFC title to Holm at UFC 193. Whether coincidence or not, Rousey’s role in Road House, and her acting career as a whole, died on the vine very much like her fighting career. The Road House remake, however, will live to fight another round.
Jake Gyllenhaal becomes the new Dalton
In 2017, it was announced that the Road House remake was back on and that Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal would take on the role of Dalton. Ironically, Gyllenhaal’s breakthrough performance in the sci-fi mystery Donnie Darko also starred Swayze in one of his final film roles, an experience that Gyllenhaal referenced when he talked about the Road House remake on Good Morning America.
“They’re big shoes to fill, but Patrick was a friend when he was here,” Gyllenhaal said. “We made a movie when I was pretty young called Donnie Darko together. He was always so loving and lovely to me.”
“I take that all to heart in playing the role and there are some things I take from him, but generally we made a whole new movie and I’m really excited about it.”Jake Gyllenhaal
In the Road House remake, Gyllenhaal will play the role of Elwood Dalton, a former UFC fighter who takes a job as a bouncer in the Florida Keys. Soon, however, Dalton discovers that not everything is what it seems in this tropical paradise.
Conor McGregor will appear in the Road House remake
Also starring in the Road House remake is former UFC champion Conor McGregor, who many believe will play a bad guy or evil henchman in the movie. Behind-the-scenes images of McGregor and Gyllenhaal on the film’s Dominican Republic set were posted on Twitter in January of this year.
The Road House remake will mark McGregor’s first foray into feature films, with the larger-than-life Irish MMA fighter arguably a perfect fit for Hollywood. McGregor’s apparently getting paid a pretty penny for his appearance, with ‘The Notorious’ bragging on social media “I’m the highest-paid first-time actor of all time… Add that to the rest of all my accolades.”
Directing the Road House reboot is Doug Liman, who previously helmed The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow, while the likes of Daniela Melchoir (The Suicide Squad), Billy Magnussen (Game Night) and Beau Knapp (Southpaw) co-star in the film.
Road House is currently in post-production and will have its premiere on Prime Video, although no release date has been confirmed at this time.