Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company has been frantically whipping the horses on the remake wagon since their first major financial successes (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror), and The Hitcher is next on the money trail.

The original 1986 flick, which made C. Thomas Howell the household name it is today, revolved around a man on a solo cross-country trek who picks up a hitchhiker (played by Rutger Hauer at his insaniest). The rider turns out to be a psychopath who haunts him across the desert playing sadistic mind games.

Dreamy Nip/Tuck surgeon Julian McMahon plans to be part of the update, which will be directed by (naturally) music video and commercial shooter Dave Meyers.  Buried deep in an AICN report on Aussie stuff I don’t care about is a confirmation quote from McMahon, told to a Down Under radio station regarding the project: “It’s called the Hitcher, it’s a real creepy thing. I’d play the villain again.” I don’t know how they could outdo the already effective original (which recently got a rather lousy direct-to-vid sequel), but part of the plan is apparently to switch sexes of the protagonist, with healthy Platinum Dunes alum Jessica Biel rumored for the role.

McMahon, whose name has long been on the Bond replacement list, also has an upcoming horror-thriller called Prisoner with Elias Koteas and Keifer Sutherland’s homely girlfriend on last season’s 24.  And, in case you missed the hundreds of Java and Flash advertisements on the site, he’s also in the impending Fantastic Four movie that will probably be terrible but you’ll see anyway.

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