It seems like there isn’t an original idea left in the universe. From last year’s Footloose to the rumored new American Psycho project to the Spiderman franchise reboot, it seems like recycling films is now more popular than ever. While most people loathe the idea of their favorite film becoming Zac Efron’s new project, it does spark some thought as to what you would do if you were calling the shots on the film this time around. Below are some of my personal favorites and what I would do if I was in charge of creating them for the 2012 crowd.
When MTV announced that they were going to remake this cult classic a few years ago, the backlash from Rocky fans was so negative (think hundreds of thousands of signatures in protest) that they eventually nixed the project. While there is absolutely no way anyone could capture the perfection of this strangely wonderful musical, it would be crazy fun to try. If any studio had the guts to try to remake Rocky for the modern audience, it would need to be as outlandish as possible. No shot for shot Vince-Vaugh-in-Psycho remakes here. Rocky 2.0 would need to separate itself from the original cult classic visually- there’s no competing with the fierceness of Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter or Meat Loaf as Eddie (I nearly cried when he got “axed” by the former in the freezer). For the infamous alien/transvestite/mad scientist, why not have a woman playing the role? It’s done so often in the stage version, and it definitely would solve the problem of the poor actor constantly living in the shadow of Tim Curry. While it would pain me to see anyone but Meat Loaf play Eddie, the poor guy looks pretty tired from all of his tasks on The Celebrity Apprentice. Let’s replace him with Johnny Depp and have him channel his Cry-Baby energy into the role. Brad and Janet, the straight laced and newly engaged couple en route to find Dr. Scott to announce their impending nuptials, could be re-imagined. Let’s trade in Barry Boswick’s lovable nerd character in favor of a dismissive Wall Street type (say, Guy Pearce?) and give him a pretty but dim trophy fiancee (bombshell Amber Heard, portraying the role that made Susan Sarandon famous) to play off of. “Dammit, Janet”, the couple’s first number, could be reversed so that Janet is the one proposing to her long term boyfriend, who is more interested in his Blackberry than his girl. Throw in a Michael Shannon as Riff Raff and Helena Bonham Carter as Magenta and we’ve got a solid cast.
Oh, and for the Frank-N-Furtor ablicious Rocky? Mike, the Situation, naturally.
Ask me about my favorite film and, depending on the day, you’ll probably hear me say Heathers. I love Heathers. I love Winona Ryder as the only “non-Heather” in Heathers clique who is simply dying for an excuse to bail on her popularity. I love Christian Slater as J.D., the homicidal but OHMYGODSOAWESOME new bad boy in town that sweeps Veronica off of her feet… until he starts a (fake) suicide revolution and attempts to blow up the school. No one’s perfect.
If I had to cast a new Veronica (and I finally was able to accept that Winona Ryder was just a tad too old for the part) I would have to go with MTV’s show Awkward’s Ashley Rickards. She’s got a bit of Veronica’s spirit inside of her already, and she could carry the role as best as anyone could. Let’s give up and comer Glee favorite Dianna Agron a shot at being the alpha girl this time as Heather Chandler. Sure, she’s a tad past her teen years, but her predecessors all looked about thirty. Lily Collins of the recent Snow White reboot Mirror, Mirror would take over Shannen Doherty’s role, while Ashley Benson from Pretty Little Liars would make a decent pick for the the whiny Heather McNamera. A reincarnated Heathers? Not so promising, but they certainly fit the mold.
As for my favorite character, J.D.: J.D. would have to be my new favorite young actor Ezra Miller. He’s just unknown enough to literally transform into his own version of Slater’s infamous character, and we already know from his stint in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” that he plays a bad teen crazy well.
While I wouldn’t modernize a new version of Heathers, setting it in the mid 90’s might be embraceable. Ellen Page could totally pull off an Angela Chase wardrobe, and Ezra Miller could definitely be the coolest guy in school as a crazy, literate version of Jared Leto’s Jordan Catalano.
While the cast might be cool, there is simply no recapturing Heathers. For me, it’s the lightening in a bottle of dark teen comedies, and I’d hate to be the one that screws everything up.
The Princess. The Jock. The Nerd. The Basket Case. Stereotypes that were both perpetuated and broken by John Hughes iconic teen film. While the film can be a tad saccharine at times, the solid cast (Molly Ringwald and the other Brat Pack-ers) never play a false note. Recreating this cast would be nearly impossible. Instead of casting the traditional teen starlets in these iconic roles, I’d love to have relatively unknown actors take on the Saturday morning detention. While The Breakfast Club was a great 80’s film, a remake should reflect present day issues that teenagers face. While the changing times certainly haven’t altered all of the struggles of the modern day teen, incorporating some of the more recent problems would be an interesting way to re-imagine the story. Slotting a director like Gus Van Sant would be a way to ensure that the social commentary of the film does not get lost amongst the makeovers and “eat my shorts!” that made Hughes’s film a classic.