With the news of a Charlie’s Angels reboot being conceived for next year’s TV season, I can only continue to shake my head at how Hollywood is out of ideas. I mean, this is an industry that is remaking films that came out in the ’80s. I don’t care if it’s a horror movie like The Stepfather or the Chace Crawford–Julianne Hough re-imagining of Footloose (just typing that gave me hives), I don’t understand why it’s necessary.
Sometimes a reboot or remake does strike gold — look at JJ Abrams‘ wildly successful and awesome Star Trek — but it takes a very special balance of great script, great cast and originality to make something like that work. You never want to give the impression that your project is a case of, “Oh, shit, we have nothing on our roster so let’s dust off something old.”
As much as I can joke about how Jonathan Jackson‘s return to General Hospital as Lucky is his extended audition for a 21 Jump Street movie, I’m actually quite serious: He would be great for such a project and if I were casting it, he’d be a lock as a 21st Century Tom Hanson (a permanent lock, even!). Fresh-faced Amber Tamblyn (ex-Emily, GH), who was pushing Jump Street herself by playing a cop on ABC’s short-lived The Unusuals, would also be perfect in an all-new role or even a modern variation on Penhall’s abrasive but good-hearted girlfriend Dorothy — now a cop herself instead of the stay-at-home spouse.
The series ran for four years, has a cult following, but also isn’t so sacred that touching it would make people freak out. And given the right story, it could be a great film. Especially if they got Johnny Depp to stop pretending that’s not where he started his career and he could make a cameo appearance as Captain Jenko (the original Jump Street squad captain before Steven Williams‘ Fuller). It could be dark, edgy, but also with a strong thread of wit: just like the show.
Of course, given the trend Hollywood seems to follow with its television show-to-movie pitches, it would end up more like a camp comedy, like the Charlie’s Angels movies and Dukes of Hazzard: lampooning the show rather than embracing what people loved about it. I was truly horrified by Dukes, as that series was a huge part of my childhood, and seeing earnest daredevils Bo and Luke reduced to idiotic buffoons was painful.
What would be less painful would be to see Hollywood actually start producing and releasing more fresh material instead of defaulting to tired remakes. There are hungry, talented writers out there just waiting to be discovered. The film industry just has to take a chance and…cut loose.