Thursday, April 12, 2007
casino ... barbarella?
Producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis have completed a rights deal that will allow them to reinvent "Barbarella," and the producers have set "Casino Royale" scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to pen the script. The original 1968 Roger Vadim-directed fantasy was produced by De Laurentiis, who wrote the check to secure Purvis and Wade.
De Laurentiis recently completed a film rights acquisition deal with Julien Forest, the son of Jean-Claude Forest, author of the French comicbook series on which the film was based. Deal, made with Hollywood Comics principal Jean-Marc Lofficier and French agent Laurie Roy, calls for the reissue of the first two Barbarella books in concert with the feature, along with the publication of material that previously hadn't been translated into English. "Barbarella is the ultimate science-fiction adventure heroine: smart, strong funny and sexy," De Laurentiis said. "I'm excited to reintroduce Barbarella to a new generation of moviegoers."
In the original film, Jane Fonda played the title character as a kittenish sexpot. That movie comes off as camp and dated by today's standards. In the remake, the scribes will make Barbarella a free, modern gal who survives in a futuristic world through her intelligence, fighting skills and sexuality...
"A free, modern gal". Well. Yes. Quite. Given that writing team, I'm guessing an awfully grim free, modern gal who somehow manages to use her sexuality as a fighting skill. Like Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye, maybe; after all, she was free and modern and survived the world with her sexuality. Mind, since they actually probably want us to like Barbarella, maybe she'd have fewer orgasms than Xenia during the actual killing bits. To be sure, if they go back to the original comics source, it's going to be much darker than the film was in any event. Though, interestingly enough, with probably just as much lying around looking interestingly attractive.
If you want a heroine who is intelligent and kickass and sexy, I vote for Gina Torres. Unfortunately, the producers, when there are some, probably won't -- she's an odd combination of both not that big a name plus probably a bit too expensive for what they want to do, plus given that she's 37 now and would probably be 40 by the time the film is made, they'll think she's too old -- and honestly, if they're going back to the original source, she probably is. (The original source is also kind of emphatic about her blondness, as I recall, which could be an issue if they're doing a re-release of the comics.) Which is too bad, really, because she does intelligent and kickass like nobody's business. I expect, however, they'll probably go for an unknown. (Frankly, with the original Barbarella film coloring the discussion, they may need to; I'm not sure there are too many established younger actresses who would go near anything they felt might turn out like that.)
In any event, it's part and parcel of the continuing trend of taking older properties and reworking them for a more modern (read: 18-35 year olds with disposable income) audience that hasn't seen the original. I wonder if, down the line, they'd do a re-release of the original Barbarella film as a two-DVD set. Maybe do an Ultimate Barbarella package with both films and the new and old comics as well; maybe include the old Duran Duran "Electric Barbarella" video on the DVD as well as videos for whatever the zippy new theme song will be (because there will be one, done by someone who is Cool! And Hep! And Happening! And Now! or however it is that the young'uns refer to it these days).
I do hope they keep the line "A great many dramatic situations begin with screaming." I'm pretty sure they won't -- that there is some high camp, all on its own -- but it's such a cool line!