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6 Gender Swapped Remakes/Reboots Currently In Development

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.

Oceans 11

  • 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.

Road House

  • 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.

Rocketeer

  • 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.

Splash

  • 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.

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About Kelly Konda (1822 Articles)
Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

13 Comments on 6 Gender Swapped Remakes/Reboots Currently In Development

  1. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Splash, and The Rocketeer look interesting.

    I actually like The original Rocketeer, and I guess if you can have a little black girl as Iron Man, you can do Rocketeers. I’m already envisioning Janelle Monae in the lead role, as she seems to have a suitably 40s type glamour.

    I can’t imagine Tatum as a mer-man. I just keep wondering, “How can they mess this one up?” I enjoyed the original, though. It’s alright.

    As for LXG, this is what Hollywood is suppposed to do: take a failed or mediocre movie and improve it with better actors and script. Don’t know if it will be any good, but a good template for it would be the show Penny Dreadful, which I always considered a low grade tv version of the comic books. I want to say the remake couldn’t possibly be worse than the original, but they might prove me wrong.

    • We’re so early on The Rocketeer (the screenwriters were literally hired like two weeks ago) that I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but the fact that it’s coming from Disney probably puts it on stronger footing than any of the others on the list beside Oceans Ocho. I like the original Rocketeer for a lot of the same reasons that I like Captain America: First Avenger, and I dig the notion of revisiting that universe with a black female lead this time.

      LXG – I’m with you on the Penny Dreadful reference. When the producer said “female-centric” he didn’t necessarily mean all-female. Penny Dreadful was always a low grade LXG, and even though it had a majority male cast it was 100% Eva Green’s show, from beginning to end. You could do a new LXG in a similar way.

    • I think at this point the Rocketeers counts as a cult classic. His status as the “first try” before its director tackled The Fist Avenger certainly helped to ensure that people at least know what it is about.
      I’ll in general wait and see…in the end it will all depend on the question if they will manage to go creative with the scripts. If they are all trading old ground, they can leave it just as well.

    • I have no desire to see a Splash reboot, let alone Channing Tatum as a merman. 😒 The original Splash had a great script, and the film was both romantic and funny. I just don’t feel they will be able to capture the mermaid’s innocence in this reboot. I hope I’m wrong though. I’d like to see at least one or two decent reboots at some point in my life.

      As for the Rocketeer, I can already hear cries that there were no Black female pilots back then, despite the fact that Bessie Coleman received her aviation license in 1921, and Janet Bragg purchased her first airplane in 1934. I hope the Rocketeer reboot is successful.

      I hope they succeed in improving The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, because the 2003 version was extremely boring with terrible CGI.

  2. Don’t take this the wrong way, but while I am for female leads in film (or in any media for that matter) I don’t think gender swapping is the answer. It only gives filmmakers the excuse to just reboot an existing film or franchise and making the former cast of men into women. I want female characters that can stand on their own merits and in their own stories not be the product of the gender swapping of a previously-made male lead films. It gives the impression that women can succeed only if it was based off material that was led by men. That’s why I disillusioned with the new Ghostbusters because I can not help but see this as a lazy. By all means have female leads but them let stand as their own characters, and not gender swaps of their male counterparts. But who knows, maybe one of these will prove me wrong; however, I still desire more original stories with original female leads can be created or adapted for film and that effort is put into them.

    • Oh, I get it, and you stated your arguments beautifully. I happen to agree with you, and I touched on some of that last week. It’s just that the “why” and “is this even a good thing?” of it all when it comes to this trend of gender-swapped remakes is a whole other, really complicated topic, coming down to a lot of hard data and anecdotal evidence supporting why Hollywood feels it needs to only make films based on recognizable IP but also looking at recent trends which suggest Hollywood’s waning creativity will ultimately be the tool of its own demise. In this post, I was really trying to say, “Hey, here are the gender-swapped movies that might happen.” For example, I have my doubts the LXG one will ever leave development hell, but Oceans Ocho seems like a sure thing now. I am happy to see Jillian Bell potentially getting a big movie like Splash. Obviously, it’d be cooler if she was simply getting her own movie to do with Channing Tatum instead of some 80s property, but that’s not the way Hollywood is structured right now, as frustrating as that is.

      • I think my frustration with lack of originality in movie industry is the reason why I am skeptical of full gender-reversal, because I can’t help but think that it is lazy. What makes it worse is that they herald it as innovative when it is not. But there are have been more original films with female leads in recent years, Hungers Games being a big one. Not really a fan but I can at least appreciate that people can find a reliability in Katniss even when I can not.

      • I do wish Hollywood would look to Scifi and fantasy books to make these movies. Right now Hollywood appears to be in the mode of “putting a new facade on old material” because they think it’s a sure fire way to make their money back on these movies.

        Unfortunately this lack of originality seems to be backfiring and they seem loathe to understand why, although we keep telling them what we’d like to see.

        Hollywood thinking about movies needs a reset and Disney at least seems poised to reconsider moviemaking. They seem to be stuck in “it worked before, so let’s do it again” type thinking.

    • True, but then, the Ghostbusters were always lazy. It’s not like the sequels with the males was anything else but a redo of the first movie.

      I agree, with some of those projects – most notable Oceans 11 – I would prefer it if they would simply come up with a new name. With others, I am okay with them using the old name.

      • If the franchise or film wasn’t as well-known and maybe if only half the characters are gender-swapped, I would okay with that. But a full gender reversal just shouts fanfiction, except with a big budget. I think this way because I believe the film market is already saturated with reboots/remakes and they are changing the genders to add a bit of spice to get people into the theaters. I guess I just wish that they are more original films because I would like to see something new and see female characters in that environment.

    • I agree with your statement. I am a Black woman who does not agree with gender-swapping, race-swapping, or colorism in films. Marvel’s film adaptation of Dr. Strange includes both gender and race-swapping, and the 2010 remake of the 2007 film, Death at a Funeral, relied on race-swapping. The problem with race and gender-swapping is that it often fails to add anything to the character, in which case it would be better and far more creative to simply create new stories with new characters, instead of making reboot after reboot in which the only changes to the character[s] is race or gender.

  3. I’m not a fan of Rebel Wilson, and I couldn’t care less about Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in general.
    LXG- Alan Moore is probably just annoyed that Hollywood keeps adapting his work.
    Ocean’s Eight should be a prequel. Keep with the trend of bigger number=later film in the series. Honestly, I’m super indifferent on that one. The original (Sinatra) one is just Rat Pack: The Gathering, and is one of the least compelling heist films ever made. The Clooney/Soderbergh remake is genius, up there with Carpenter’s The Thing and Wyler’s Ben-Hur as one of the greatest remakes of all time, and then its sequels were horrendous and passable, respectively. I just don’t really care about another one. Ocean’s Eleven is THE heist film, trying to top that is honestly foolish. Interesting cast, though.
    Road House belongs in the 80’s. It’s a crap film with a level of cheese normally not seen outside of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus’s Cannon Productions, and remaking it now is a horrid idea. You just can’t recreate that level of earnest cheese. Everything has to be ironic now, from Kingsman (an ironic Bond) to Kung Fury. David Sandberg is the only person I’d trust with a remake of this “classic.”
    The Rocketeer is fine, though it was a box office disappointment back in the day, making it strange that a sequel is even being considered to a half-remembered, Disney-fied version of the Dave Stevens pulp.
    Nobody cares about Splash. Channing Tatum is great, but this seems utterly ridiculous, and not in a good way.
    In short, stop remaking movies. Make some good, original female-led films if you want to increase female representation, don’t give women your hand-me-down films. It just feels like, “Here, I’ve finished playing around with Ghostbusters, you can have what’s left of it.”

  4. I’d much rather see Hollywood produce new films instead of insisting on remaking or rebooting a film with gender-swapped cast. I’m getting tired of seeing the same thing over and over…

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