The calls have been heard loud and clear, both on stage and off at the Oscars or in the annals of the web and at the box office: the world demands more movies with women, about women, by women and for women.
Every week a movie seems to be failing the Bechdel test, and every week a separate movie ends up walking away with the lion’s share at the box office. From hits like Maleficent, The Fault in Our Stars and Lucy to monster franchises like The Hunger Games, the old notion that teenage boys are the ones driving the demand at the movies is rapidly eroding. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy opened to a 44 percent female audience on the film’s opening weekend, the highest share for any Marvel movie to date.
And although they’ve taken their sweet time, Hollywood is finally responding in the only way they know how: churning out a bunch of remakes, reboots, spinoffs and sequels with a massive price tag attached.
Case in point, Sony is in talks with Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) to reimagine Ghostbusters with a female cast. Marvel is about to greenlight a Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson just as she’s hit the hottest moment of her career. And Sylvester Stallone wants to make an Expendabelles movie starring an ass-kicking, chain smoking Sigourney Weaver.
While we’d love for Hollywood to start coming up with some original ideas with women taking the center stage, we wouldn’t put it past them to rehash every remotely successful franchise, blockbuster or cult movie ever made with a leading lady. So in that spirit, we at Sound on Sight decided to help the studios out with a list of female-fronted remakes we’d love to see, everything from the perfectly plausible to the downright ridiculous reboot no one asked for but will get made anyway.
The 1990 hit Point Break has, over the years, become an action classic, even referenced in other movies such as Hot Fuzz. A remake is already in the works for 2015, but making the movie female-centric would be a great way to set it apart from the original and its subsequent imitators. At its best, a women-led version of Point Break could allow for an exploration of what makes platonic relationships between women tick, and how they react to betrayal and other friendship-straining experiences. But even if that is too lofty a goal for a Point Break remake, it would still give women an opportunity to perform the kinds of stunts and get a shot at the kinds of roles that seem oddly reserved for men. Perhaps the best option would be reuniting Maggie Q and Lyndsy Fonseca as Bodhi and Utah. Both performers showed action chops and a strong chemistry over the course of the CW’s latest incarnation of Nikita, qualities that would make them perfect for the part. But an equally good set of choices would be Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar) as Bodhi and Caity Lotz (Arrow, The Machine) as Utah. - Deepayan Sengupta
Women in Black
When director Barry Sonnenfeld’s sci-fi comedy actioner Men in Black arrived on the scene in 1997 it brought an off-kilter and imaginative spin to the buddy genre that definitely agreed with the box office results. But would it be much different if the franchise created a whole new universe where two black leather-clad female agents teamed up with sunglasses while kicking some alien butt in a remake entitled Women in Black? Someone like Sandra Bullock has already had a good track record with buddy cop comedies (The Heat, Miss Congeniality) and even sci-fi and action, and her Miss Congeniality 2 co-star Regina King could even take up the Will Smith role. - Frank Ochieng
Quentin Tarantino has always been pretty good about writing interesting roles for women (Jackie Brown, Kill Bill), so why not take one of the best ensemble crime capers of all time, Reservoir Dogs, and add even more panache? Sprinkle some Tarantino regulars throughout by having Pam Grier taking over as Joe Cabot, Uma Thurman as Mr. White, Zoe Bell as Mr. Blonde; this cast practically fills itself out. Few directors are as good at assembling a cast as Tarantino is, and I would love to see what those actresses could bring to the mental warfare the associates wage on each other, especially with a lot of money and a lot of jail time on the line. - Colin Biggs
Sure, there have been tons of action movies and martial arts films starring women. But we need a full-scale, no-holds-barred Raid-style martial arts extravaganza with an all-female cast: protagonist, baddies, goons, the works. Gina Carano could star, but MMA isn’t flashy enough for the kind of elegant skull-cracking this kind of movie needs. So let’s have somebody like Yanin Vismitananda or Rina Takeda, both already martial arts stars in Thailand and Japan respectively, as the lead, and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) or Cynthia Rothrock as the big bad. Get Muay Thai Stunt to do the choreography and Lexi Alexander (herself a former karate champion) to direct, and you’ve got the makings of a movie I’d watch a million times. - Derek Godin
If you want to feel old, remember that Home Alone is now 24 years old. It’s so old that its star has now stopped acting and joined a silly Velvet Underground cover band. Nevertheless, the film is still a beloved holiday classic, and it’s about time they made a proper second sequel to the Chris Columbus/John Hughes film (not like whatever Home Alone 3 was). With a reimagining of Annie now under her belt and a rumor that she might do Space Jam 2, Quvenxhane Wallis feels like the perfect choice, a spunky girl actor with the comedic and even dramatic chops to pick up where Kevin McAllister left off. It might be equally fun to see Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig as the clueless home invaders. - Brian Welk
There Will Be Blood
There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson’s modern masterpiece of greed and violence, doesn’t seem to lay the groundwork for sequels, reboots, or spinoffs, but if you dig deep enough, there is a tiny morsel to grab onto in the shape of Daniel Plainview’s briefly mentioned sister, Annabelle. Who is Annabelle? Did she ever see any of Daniel’s money? Has she been touched by greed in the way her older brother has? Played by Amy Adams, who stunned as the manipulative and dominating Peggy Dodd in PTA’s The Master, this There Will Be Blood spinoff would be a powerful character study about a woman coming from nothing making her name for herself in a time and business when it was nearly impossible for women to do so.
Hollywood won’t get anywhere in terms of social progress if they’re just going to turn every starlet into a tough action heroine. Women need roles that give them depth, wit and a sense of reality that they’re something other than a sex symbol. There are plenty of prime examples of this throughout indie cinema, but less so with a mainstream prestige picture. One chestnut that could be dusted off is George Roy Hill’s ’70s Best Picture winner The Sting. The con game needn’t be just a boys’ club, so the trick is finding real movie stars with enough bite and gusto to fill Paul Newman and Robert Redford’s shoes. Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence handled the period vibe well in American Hustle. Could they blend into the 1930s scene as well? For actors with a little more maturity, maybe Gwyneth Paltrow could dust off some of that screwball comedy, Katherine Hepburn charm she displayed in Iron Man, with Julianne Moore or Jessica Chastain to back her up. - Brian Welk
While there have been good opportunities for women to be tough in the movies, there are fewer films that allow them to be equal parts cerebral and crazy, and a Face/Off remake might just be perfect. Give me Emily Blunt as Sean Archer (John Travolta) and Anne Hathaway as Castor Troy (Nicholas Cage). Both are adept at action and Hathaway has enough quirks for Blunt to do a recognizable mimic. Blunt’s accent adds an extra layer, too. Keep it familial and throw John Krasinski in as Blunt’s spouse – a vanilla actor who just needs to not screw it up. Minor changes may need to happen in terms of story, but the idea of two talented actors essentially playing each other is always fun. Plus, Anne Hathaway leading a terrorist organization sounds pretty amazing. – Joshua Gaul
John McClain has finally retired after years of escalating adventures. His son, Jack, is on the other side of the world still working for the CIA. One Christmas Eve, terror strikes the heart of LA and John McClain and others are captured and held hostage in an extravagant hotel by a mysterious group of terrorists. Their charismatic leader, a female terrorist played by Helen Mirren, who seems to have a personal vendetta against the McClains, is demanding $640 million or else John and the other hostages will be killed. The hostages’ only hope is Lucy McClain, played again by the wonderful Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has to fight her way to the top of the hotel and save her father. With Winstead being a strong and beautiful lead and Mirren hamming it up as the villain, this female-led Die Hard, titled The Time Comes to Die Hard (aka Die Hard Alone, Until We Die Hard, Die Hard Trying, Only the Good Die Hard or, Die, Die Hard, Die!) would be the perfect spark the franchise needs. Winstead could return the series back to it’s roots as an every-(wo)man who has to step up to the role of action hero. It doesn’t even exist and it’s already better than A Good Day to Die Hard. - Max Molinaro
The A-(Cup) Team
In 2002, a crack commando unit was sent to a military prison for a crime they didn’t commit. These women promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-(Cup)Team! Starring, Charlize Theron as ‘Colonel Jane “Hannibella” Smith,’ Rihanna as ‘Face,’ Cameron Diaz as ‘“Howling Mad” Murdoch,’ and Pink as ‘“B.A.” Baracus.’ Also starring, Mandy Patinkin as the ‘Reporter Guy’ and Demi Moore as ‘G.I. Jane.’ - J.R. Kinnard
Back to the Future