What I remember most about the Scared Straight documentary was that, for the first time on television (and this was before cable), I heard the word fuck on the air. It wasn’t until later that I realized the true value of the doc, and it’s positive effects on youth at the time. It was filmed here in New Jersey at Rahway State Prison, which has since been renamed East Jersey State Prison, after years of protests from local residents. The documentary and crime prevention program, imprison delinquent teens for a short period in hopes of deterring them from a life of crime.
There were also follow-up docs done by the same producer, Arnold Shapiro, who won an Oscar for the original project.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, now Scared Straight will be a prison drama helmed by John Carpenter and starring Nicolas Cage. The film will follow a troubled youth who’s sent to prison out of the aforementioned crime-prevention program. While there, a riot breaks out and the prisoners take the youth hostage. Cage will play a lifer who helps the young man out. Seems reasonable enough. Depends on who they get to write and do DP work on the film. I’ll never forget that deep, contrasty grain from the original doc.