Last week, Ghostbusters was officially declared a box office flop, forcing the franchise to pivot away from live action toward potential animated projects. Amazingly, Hollywood didn’t immediately cancel all of its other gender swapped remakes/reboots currently in development.
As I wrote about at the time, this is a minor miracle. Progress for women in Hollywood oddly means being allowed to fail financially. This used to be a one-and-done ordeal. Individual failures like Supergirl, Elektra and Aeon Flux prevented any similar films from being made for years if not full decades. Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds continues to land roles despite being box office poison outside of Deadpool. However, with Ghostbusters Hollywood took a big swing on a female-led project, and didn’t overreact to its failure (not yet at least). Wow. How…progressive?
Sure, but aren’t people getting sick of remakes/reboots and other such “here’s a slightly new version of that thing you kind of remember” projects, regardless of cast composition? This is just as much about Hollywood’s waning creativity as it is about gender politics.
But if you’re a regular reader you know that I already discussed all of this in more detail in last week. My goal today is to follow-up that post by running down the 6 most high-profile gender-swapped remakes/reboots currently in development:
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- Original Cast: Marlon Brando & Davi…wait. Not that one.
- Original Remake Cast: Steve Martin, Michael Caine & Glenne Headly
- New Cast: Rebel Wilson & TBD
First it was 1964’s Bedtime Story with Brando and David Nivens. Then it was 1988’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Martin and Caine. Then it was a 2004 comedy musical on Broadway. Now it’s going to be a female-led remake with a log line which reads: “Two female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, compete to swindle a naive tech prodigy out of his fortune.” One of those scam artists will be Rebel Wilson. They currently have a completed script from Jac Schaeffer.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Original Cast: Sean Connery and…oh, come on, like anyone remembers the rest of the cast anymore.
- New Cast: TBD
We still don’t know much this one, only that Fox is taking a second crack at this franchise after flunking out the first time and producer John Davis is looking for a little Mad Max: Fury Road magic, as he told Collider last August:
Just by going back to the roots and making it authentic to what the fan base was really excited about. It’s female-centric, which I think is interesting. I love female characters, point-of-view characters in action movies. I thought Mad Max was great. I think you can always find a fresh way of doing something and going back to the basics. What is that people love? What is it that made them love the property in the first place?
Little problem: There’s only one significant female character in the original graphic novels, Mina Murray (from Dracula). So, um, they’ll have to get creative.
- Original Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Mar…wait. Not that one
- Original Remake Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck and so on
- New Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchette, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina and TBD
This new crew will rob the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hunger Games’ Gary Ross is on board to direct. Steven Soderbergh and Sandra Bullock are attached as producers. So was Clooney, but he’s since exited the project. At one point in the development process, a newcomer named Olivia Milch was handling scripting duties.
- Original Cast: Patrick Swayze
- New Cast: Ronda Rousey
“Pain don’t hurt.” Throat rip. All kinds of R-Rated action and nudity you were too young for. Oh, that Patrick Swayze hair.
For many of us, those are our lasting memories of Road House, a gleefully 80s cheesefest if there ever was one. For others, Road House is an unironic “action classic.”
As such, not everyone is cool with Ronda Rousey’s ongoing efforts to reboot the film as a starring project for herself, with writer-director Nick Cassavetes along for the ride. However, There seemed to be much more heat on this project back when Rousey was UFC’s undefeated wonder, stepping her toes into Hollywood stardom through Furious 7 and Entourage while mercilessly pummeling the best IFC had to offer. Then she lost, and got hurt. Does she seem somehow less special now? Is this film dead?
In November 2015, an anonymous individual close to the production told The Wrap the MGM film was still on track to film in the second half of 2016. That’s the most recent update I could find.
- Original Cast: Billy Campbell, Jennifer Connelly & Timothy Dalton
- New Cast: TBD
According to THR, Disney has hired Max Winkler and Matt Spicer to pen a “sequel-reboot” to The Rocketeer. They’re calling it “The Rocketeers,” and shifting the lead to a black female character. The set-up is as follows: Set six years after the original Rocketeer and after Cliff Secord has vanished while fighting the Nazis, an unlikely new hero emerges: a young African-American female pilot, who takes up the mantle of Rocketeer in an attempt to stop an ambitious and corrupt rocket scientist from stealing jet-pack technology in what could prove to be a turning point in the Cold War.”
The white hero becomes a black girl? First Iron Man (in the comics, at least); now The Rocketeer. Could be cool. We’re still in the early days on this one though.
- Original Cast: Daryl Hannah & Tom Hanks
- New Cast: Channing Tatum & Jillian Bell
Channing Tatum has been a dog-man (Jupiter Ascending), stripper (Magic Mike), GI Joe (um, GI Joe), gimp (This Is the End) and dimwitted cop (21 & 22 Jump Street). If producer Brian Grazer gets his way, Tatum’s curious resume will soon add “merman” since Tatum is attached to take Daryl Hannah’s role in a gender-swapped remake of Ron Howard’s Splash. Cool.
I like Tatum just fine, and he’s certainly nice to look at whenever he takes off his shirt. However, the real reason for excitement here is Jillian Bell, who has been stealing scenes for the past couple of years in movies like 22 Jump Street (where she mostly played opposite Jonah Hill and had minimal screen time with Tatum), Ghostbusters (as the kooky aunt) and The Night Before (as Seth Rogen’s very understanding wife). Her Comedy Central series, Idiotsitters, is a bit inconsistent, but she’s a Melissa McCarthy-grade improviser and fires off mean one-liners like few others. This could a breakthrough project for her.
However, I might be off base about that for this one specific reason: I’ve never actually seen the original 1984 Splash. Sorry. It’s always been in my Tom Hanks blindspot, nuzzled up next to The Man with One Red Shoe.