Hollywood loves nothing more than trotting a hit property out of mothballs and gussying it up again for some hot star to earn all new cash with. So I’ve got some ideas for remakes, and if they work out, seeing the result will be its own reward. Generally, I feel that good movies shouldn’t be remade—just bad ones, to make them better. But let’s mix up the field to make things broader, and give us some remakes we could live with—even of films that are fab enough to begin with. Here goes everything:
*THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTION with Meryl Streep. Just to see if she’s that versatile.
*Similarly, The DEVIL WEARS PRADA, THE IRON LADY, and DOUBT, starring any of a bevy of high-toned actresses, from Kate Winslet to Emily Blunt. To see if anyone else is that versatile.
*CHICAGO. Is it too soon for a remake of the flashy, trashy musical about celebrity justice? Probably not, especially since that show, about a pair of leggy criminals in tune with razzle dazzle, will obviously never die on Broadway (along with the Phantom menace). In the new version, set on the reality competition show circuit, Taylor Swift could rock it as Roxie, Demi Lovato might have the tough edge for Velma, and Adam Lambert could be slippery lawyer Billy Flynn. “And that’s good, isn’t it…?”
*MRS. MINIVER or any of those other noble pics that starred Oscar winner Greer Garson, complete with stiff upper lip. Adele would be perfection, dahling.
*MY FAIR LADY starring Laverne Cox. Laverne could turn it out as the volatile street urchin Eliza Doolittle, who, with the help of Professor Henry Higgins (Jamie Foxx), becomes a slick ballroom diva, wowing all of L.A. In lieu of papa Alfred P. Doolittle (Billy Porter) doing “Get Me To The Church On Time,” there will be Hozier singing “Take Me To Church.”
*WEST SIDE STORY, with Neil Patrick Harris as a gay former gang member (now the CEO of a hookup site) who falls in love with a straight guy, played by Aaron Eckhart. Both of their families wildly disapprove, but the dance-offs will be remarkable enough to win everyone over at the gym.
*BROOKLYN with Lady Gaga (Let’s try out her cinematic acting chops with some pure dramatics. Though admittedly this would speed up the remaking process a bit.) Also, MAHOGANY with Rihanna. (The Diana Ross original was not exactly a Renoir film, but a fun trashy flick). Or—once again—CHICAGO with them two, plus Nicki Minaj. Helleaux.
*MAME starring Madonna. The high-living auntie could be a good fit for Madonna, and since the 1974 Lucille Ball version was greeted like a pile of soggy corn husks, there’s no harm in trying. And this would be a real, old-style star vehicle. If Madonna’s not into it, bring on Cher, who was long ago rumored for the part.
*MARTY, the Ernest Borgnine-starring Oscar winner about the sad sack butcher, this time starring James Franco. Give those ham hocks some glam!
*DEAD RINGER (or A STOLEN LIFE), two pretty obscure films in which Bette Davis played twins, thereby upping her dialogue. Bring on Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who’d be a natural—and unlike Bette, they wouldn’t have to shoot their scenes separately.
*XANADU, the overblown musical fantasy that had a hit soundtrack, but couldn’t keep disco (or ancient mythology) alive. Again, this is perfect for Taylor Swift (who is sort of a nouveau Olivia Newton-John anyway). Also, Eddie Redmayne for the male lead, and a cavalcade of every other star on earth for the jaw-dropping musical climax on blades.
*WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? with Tilda Swinton, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, and Casey Affleck. No joke here. The original film of the Edward Albee marital drama is a magnificent work, but this cast could put the “re” (as in “respect”) back in remake.