Almost 20 years after the original, Tyra Banks has resurrected a classic for a new generation in Life Size 2.
Any millennial will remember the first film, released in 2000, in which Banks plays Eve, a doll that’s come to life to help a young girl (an early Lindsay Lohan) navigate adolescence. The sequel, which premieres December 2 on Freeform, however, takes the narrative to new heights. It follows a millennial named Grace (Francia Raisa) who’s not only trying to figure out adulthood, but is trying to save the Eve doll from being discontinued.
Life Size 2 maintains the original’s heartfelt essence, with just enough DCOM cheese to make it enjoyable, yet relatable for post-Disney Channel viewers. It also features some references to Lindsay Lohan and America’s Next Top Model that will have audiences both tearing up and screaming in laughter. And premiering on Freeform, it speaks to a slightly older audience.
The follow-up serves its committed fans, a generation who’s gone on to fight for inclusion and representation, in a number of ways. For example, Grace is the daughter of the Latina CEO who created the iconic Eve doll. And one of Grace’s best friends is an openly gay, Asian American man that has his own romantic interest.
Also, quite notably, it’s implied that Grace is sexually fluid when she wakes up next to Eve and assumes they hooked up, making it clear this movie grew with its audience.
“I think that idea of it being confused as a hookup, was from one of the network executives’ assistants,” Banks tells OUT. “I thought, ‘Oh God, that's so cool and so modern and so much older.’ That's just her life right now. It's one of the lines that we just wanted to make it normal.”
Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan in Life Size (2000)
And Eve herself even gets an update that we’d totally buy for our children (or ourselves). Woke Eve and Love is Love Eve are new versions of the doll that we actually need to hit the shelves this holiday season.
In the era of reboots, remakes, and sequels, this proactive awareness of diverse audiences seems to be the only way to succeed. Not only does the sequel update to be as mature as its original audience, but it remains cognizant of the social progress and changes made over the past two decades.
“What I've done on the unscripted side, I wanted to make sure to bring that to the scripted side as a producer,” Banks says. “So, with the colorless casting, we said we just wanted great actors. Once we chose Francia, because she's just so amazing, we wanted to lean into her being Latina. She wasn't cast because she was Latina, but once she was, I wanted to make sure to put that in there in some type of way.”
Over the years, Banks has found Life Size to be the one project that fans remain in love with. And the film’s queer audience has certainly not gone unnoticed.
“There's a certain creativity and festiveness that I love about the gay community that I connect to with so much,” she says. “I also think the acceptance in Eve seems like she has this heart that's just all loving. I think, particularly in certain people that maybe haven't come out yet or have come out and struggled to, you can escape with this movie and feel like Eve’s your friend, and she'll be there for you, no matter what.”
Life Size 2 premieres December 2 on Freeform. Watch the music video for the sequel’s remix of “Be A Star” below…it’s a bop.