WTF: Ernest — Yes, as in 'Ernest Goes to Camp' — Creator Reviving Character


Some things are sacred. You just don’t mess with three-day weekends, good coffee, or classic film characters. Like, for instance, Ernest P. Worrell. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, just mentally transport yourself back to the late ’80s and picture a rubber-faced man in a baseball cap grinning crazily into a camera. That man was Jim Varney, who began playing Ernest in a series of local Nashville commercials in 1980 and took top billing in his first film, Ernest Goes to Camp, seven years later. Sadly, after making eight more Ernest movies (half of them direct-to-DVD releases), Varney passed away of lung cancer.

Just as Peter Hook shouldn’t have done a Joy Division covers tour and INXS shouldn’t have appeared on a reality show to replace their deceased singer, Ernest should have gone to the grave with Varney. But since this is 2012 and we can’t resist rebooting even the silliest and most obscure characters, it looks like he’s ba-ack. According to Variety, the man who conceived the character, John Cherry is making a movie called Son of Ernest. As Flavorwire film editor and “film isn’t dead” activist Jason Bailey so succinctly put it on Twitter, “Film is dead.”

In an interview with FirstShowing, the project’s writer, Dan Ewen, is amusingly apologetic about the project (“I will of course allow for the possibility that you’re so dismayed by the news that you’d prefer to forget it’s even happening”) and expresses his hope “to honor the originals and Jim Varney while birthing a new chapter that lies somewhere between not sucking and Earth-shatteringly funny.” Most ambitious straight-to-video character resurrection ever? [via The Film Stage]