Road House, starring Patrick Swayze, is a product of its time, with many still enjoying it today as a guilty pleasure movie. In 2015, a remake of the film was announced, with UFC fighter Ronda Rousey roped in to play a gender-swapped lead. Many were skeptical about the project, and perhaps as a result, Rousey’s movie plan was quietly dropped in 2016. The remake resurfaced later, now with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead, scheduled for release in 2024.
The original 1989 film follows Swayze as a bouncer hired to protect a newly refurbished bar in one of the rowdiest towns. Despite being panned by critics, the film gained a cult status as an enjoyably bad movie. Additionally, a direct-to-video sequel starring Johnathon Schaech was released in 2006.
Not Jake Gyllenhaal, Ronda Rousey Was Set To Star In Road House Remake
MGM initiated plans for a Road House remake in the 2010s as the studio emerged from bankruptcy. They planned to ride on the success of the film in home media. In 2015, it was announced that Ronda Rousey would play the lead role, a gender-swapped version of Patrick Swayze (via Variety). This opportunity followed Rousey’s successful performances in The Expendables 3, Furious 7, and Entourage.
While the prospect of a Road House film with Rousey in the lead didn’t exactly thrill everyone, there was still anticipation for some kickass action scenes from the wrestler. Rousey’s transition from UFC to films began with the simultaneous filming of The Expendables 3 and Furious 7. While the former was her first release in 2014, her role as Kara in Furious 7 garnered more attention.
Sources reported that Rousey reached out to Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, and asked for her blessings. Variety later reported that Nick Cassavetes was attached to write and direct the film. This was the last known update from the film until sources in 2016 suggested that MGM had canceled the project.
However, Variety reported in 2021 that the remake project had been placed on hold and was being revived with Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead and Doug Liman as the director. The project was officially greenlit in 2022 by Amazon MGM Studios. Curiously, there was no explanation provided regarding Ronda Rousey’s firing from the original remake plans.
The Ronda Rousey-Led Road House Plan Had Several Flaws
At the time, leveraging an established IP seemed to be the best career move for Ronda Rousey. However, the question of whether Rousey was suitable to carry on Swayze’s legacy was an entirely different matter. The Road House remake was a crucial move for MGM, which had suffered numerous setbacks. Casting an inexperienced actress for the lead role raised questions about the studio’s decision-making. Moreover, their choice of director proved to be equally questionable.
Nick Cassavetes, best known for The Notebook, had primarily directed comedy and drama movies. The studio might have benefited from choosing a more experienced action movie director instead. Amidst these uncertainties, the studio’s last straw was the failure of their Ben-Hur remake. The film, made on a budget of $100 million, grossed only $94.1 million, prompting the studio to put its other doubtful plans on hold.
Rousey went on to display her action skills in the 2018 film Mile 22 starring Mark Wahlberg. Interestingly, Gyllenhaal’s Road House features another Fast & Furious actress as the female lead, Daniela Melchior. The new Road House is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on March 21, 2024, while Swayze’s film is now available for streaming on Max.