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New York — There is no such thing as a new story, be it a Shakespearean love triangle or fighter pilots playing beach volleyball in their jeans to kill time between flights. Hollywood, always keen to cash in on past hits, has a long-rumoured Top Gun remake in the works. At least that’s what heartthrob-cum-producer Tom Cruise promised this week. "It’s definitely happening," he said. The original, a bildungsroman about a maverick American pilot with the call-sign Maverick, dominated the 1986 box office. The film raked in $177m and four Oscar nominations for Paramount before settling into a long and lucrative retirement in video stores and, until recently, streaming on Netflix. Fast forward to 2017, and Russia appears to be a US foil again, fighter planes are still very cool, and Cruise is still an action hero. But the refreshed versions seldom work out as well as Hollywood would like. It’s a paradox of story telling: the best tales get repeated, yet they are the ones most difficult to...

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