It's 2017, and if Hollywood wants to prove it's serious about gender equality in this age of movie remakes, it should probably remake these classic movies with female stars. First, it would correct the one criticism many of these movies shouldered: the underdeveloped or cliched female characters or the absence of ladies in the movie at. But this isn't just about social justice.
Despite the tepid reception the 2016 Ghostbusters movie met with from the male-dominated corners of the Internet, recasting the movie with female actors was a seriously smart idea (as anyone who's actually seen the film can testify). This is doubly true for the upcoming all-women Ocean's 8, which takes the George Clooney remake of a Frank Sinatra movie and puts Sandra Bullock and Rihanna and Mindy Kaling and Cate Blanchett and more in it instead. But if a movie wins cult status, that's usually because it's really damn good, which begs the question, when remaking it, of why you're even bothering to put together a new movie at all.
Recasting the lead or major roles in the film with women often delivers an entirely new spin on a familiar story. It takes the same plot and gives it a totally different emphasis and that's a good thing. After all, the one complaint people often have about remakes is that they seem like a cynical bid for cash. But with this extra element at play, many of the movies you thought you knew would be completely transformed.
While finding another human with the same mythical swagger as Sean Connery could be tricky, one name does come to mind: Kate McKinnon. She's already outraged all of male-kind by remaking Ghostbusters, so she might as well go the whole hog by taking on James Bond this time round — from arguably one of the most popular installments of the franchise. And in a post-Atomic Blonde world, why not have a female Bond? Nothing else has to change. Bond can still be a sharp dresser, a consummate womanizer, and an unparalleled spy.
2. 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'
On June 14 2017, while collecting an award, actor Elizabeth Banks had some harsh words for one classic director: “I went to 'Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jaws’ and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out, but it’s true.”
This was a little embarrassing, since actually, it wasn't true: The Color Purple, The Sugarland Express and The BFG all boasted a female protagonist. However, the spirit of what Banks had to say is right, even if the details aren't, because Spielberg saved his juiciest lead roles for the boys. But there's still time to rectify this. Why not remake what is arguably his most beloved adventure movie with a female Indy to prove that anyone can have swashbuckling good times and save the day, not just those who identify as male?
3. 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'
Who’s more charming than the titular hero of this movie? He’s carefree, chill and spontaneous, but the film is soured by its female characters. His girlfriend Sloane is a cipher while his sister Jeannie is pointlessly malicious up until the film’s close. Let’s rectify this with a remake which makes Ferris a girl. Because why can’t women be fun and nuanced too?
4. 'Fight Club'
Can. You. Imagine? The most macho film of all macho films, with the sweat and the muscle and Brad Pitt topless and fighting and pointless confidentiality and waiters ejaculating in rude customers' soups? Given the breathless reception Netflix's new lady-wrestling show, Glow has met with (Entertainment Weekly: "Glow is unlike any show we've seen"), I'd argue the world is so very ready for more women fighting on screen and, given the gender dynamics, this would be a particularly interesting choice.
5. 'The Godfather'
Let's recast Vito Corleone as a Vita and his rebellious youngest son as Michaela and let the chips fall where they may. Just don't let me hear any of you refer to the familial tension as a "cat fight", OK?
6. 'The Shining'
Because this story would be so much sinister if Jack was a woman and the violence he begins to enact on his family came from a mother. Besides which, the fact that he moves to the isolated Overlook Hotel to work as a caretaker to buy him time to write feels far more realistic for a woman, given the state of publishing. In 2011, The New Republic found on analysing publishing houses' fall 2010 catalogues that "...one publishing house (Riverhead) could boast that women authors were responsible for 45 percent of its fall list."
Just sayin'. If Jack's struggling to get a big advance to write his novel, statistics might suggest he's more likely to be a woman anyway.
7. 'Die Hard'
John McClane's good at thinking on his feet and coming up with effortless one-liners while under huge amounts of pressure. None of these qualities are inherently male (actually, no quality is inherently male, gender is a social construct, but this isn't the time or the place). But what it really boils down to is that a genuinely entertaining action movie fronted by a woman that doesn't rely on her sex appeal or delicacy is still a rare thing these days.
8. 'Blade Runner'
Yeah, yeah, the sequel boasts Ryan Gosling alongside Harrison Ford. But, aren't you just aching for a remake with a woman as Ford's character, Rick Deckard? The only aspect of this movie that's a cliche is Rick Deckard's characterization; he's every hard-boiled private eye from a film noir. Give us a world-weary lady police officer instead and at least the gender aspect will feel new and surprising.
9. 'Mrs. Doubtfire'
If you've seen films like Some Like It Hot and Psycho, you'll know that man-to-women drag is a Hollywood institution. But why not flip it and reverse it? I'd love to see a Mr. Doubtfire focusing on an estranged former wife who's now forced to dress up as a cool young male nanny to retain contact with her kids.
10. 'Do The Right Thing'
While remaking a Spike Lee film is blasphemy, the thought of a female Mookie is too enticing. Where are the great lady slackers of the silver screen? While Mookie works extra hard as a pizza delivery dude, his extremely chill personal life (with him dropping in on his girlfriend and son around once a week) would seem borderline revolutionary if he was a woman.
11. 'Rear Window'
The classic Hitchcock movie is all about looking. When photographer Jeff Jefferies breaks his leg, he's stuck in his apartment all day. This is pre-internet, so of course he passes the time by watching his neighbors. Given his growing suspicion that one of his neighbors has murdered his wife, a female protagonist feels like a necessity for a remake of this movie. Wouldn't a woman, with lived experience of all the vulnerabilities of being a lady in the world, be quicker to jump to this conclusion? And wouldn't this also explain the way Jeff's concern is constantly shrugged off by those he confides in?
Hollywood, if you're listening, have a think about the above. These could be your most popular remakes yet.