Remake of The Women may yet see light of day
Variety reports that the long-gestating remake of The Women from writer-director Diane English (Murphy Brown) may finally go before the cameras. English originally wrote a screenplay 10 years ago for Meg Ryan to produce and costar with Julia Roberts for director James L. Brooks, but the current incarnation would have English directing Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, and possibly Uma Thurman. If financing and talent deals are finalized this week, shooting is expected to begin in February, with Mick Jagger producing through his Jagged Films company and also supervising the soundtrack.
The project has been held up over concerns that the characters from Clare Booth Luce's original play were too unsympathetic and too dated and that an all-female cast couldn't carry a big-budget film. In this latest incarnation, surfacing in the wake of the popularity of Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, English has updated the storyline to make the women less defined by their men. "The original was funny but very mean-spirited," English told Variety. "It was Luce's attack on her gender. The catalyst of the story is still one of the women discovering her husband is having an affair and the reaction of her friends. Unless I screw it up, there's a built-in audience for this movie."
Bening will play the cheated-upon wife (Norma Shearer's role in George Cukor's 1939 film), with Thurman being approached for the Joan Crawford role of the other woman. Ryan's, Bullock's, and Judd's characters would be composites of ones from the original. The Women was previously remade by MGM as the 1956 musical The Opposite Sex, starring June Allyson, Joan Collins, and Dolores Gray.