×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Line woos ‘Women’ redo

English makes helming debut

The long-gestating remake of 1939 comedy “The Women” is crystallizing … again.

The latest plan has New Line looking to distribute domestically and co-finance with Ascendant Pictures and Capitol Films.

Diane English, who wrote the script, will make her directorial debut.

Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd are in negotiations to star. Uma Thurman is being eyed for a role as well.

The money and talent deals are expected to be finalized by week’s end. Shooting begins in February.

Mick Jagger will produce the film with Jagged Films partner Victoria Pearman and Ascendant’s Christopher Eberts. The Rolling Stones front man will also supervise the soundtrack.

English has been writing drafts for a decade; originally, Ryan planned to produce and star in the pic with Julia Roberts for director James L. Brooks. English credited Pearman’s aggressiveness for getting New Line interested again in a project it scrapped several years ago.

“The Women” has always been a tough act to repeat. Many were skeptical that a predominantly female audience would justify the budget and felt that the Clare Boothe Luce source material was chained to its era and made stars Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell hopelessly unsympathetic.

But recent ratings successes such as “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex and the City” indicate auds may be receptive to such material. English solved the plot problems by embracing the fact that women today don’t base their identities on the men in their lives.

“The original was funny but very mean-spirited. It was Luce’s attack on her gender,” English said of the play that was adapted by Anita Loos for the George Cukor-directed film version. “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 wronged woman (Shearer’s role), while Thurman would take the Joan Crawford part of the husband-stealer. Ryan, Bullock and Judd will play characters that are composites of some in the original.

New Line will distribute domestically, with exec veep Mark Ordesky supervising. Ascendant will provide gap financing and Capitol will sell foreign rights to the film, English said.

Ascendant and Capitol are teamed on “Lucky Slevin.”

ICM packaged the pic.

More Film

  • Krysanne Katsoolis Sets Up Viewpark With

    Krysanne Katsoolis Sets Up Viewpark With $200 Million Fund

    Veteran film industry executive Krysanne Katsoolis has launched Viewpark, which will finance, package and release high-end film and TV content. Viewpark has partnered with former Wall Street executive Keith Price’s Obsidian Asset Management to create a multi-million dollar fund for the production and marketing of its slate, Katsoolis told Variety. Obsidian, based in London and [...]

  • Elle FanningChopard Trophee dinner, 72nd Cannes

    Elle Fanning Faints at Cannes Dinner Party

    Elle Fanning, a member of this year’s Cannes jury, had a brief scare Monday night when she fainted at the Chopard Trophee dinner. Festival director Thierry Fremaux had just introduced actor Francois Civil onstage when Fanning, star of “The Beguiled” and “Maleficent,” collapsed and fell off her chair nearby. Fanning was sitting at a table [...]

  • 'Frankie' Review: Ira Sachs' American Version

    Cannes Film Review: 'Frankie'

    As a filmmaker, Ira Sachs, the director of “Love Is Strange,” “Little Men,” and (his masterpiece) “Keep the Lights On,” is like a flower that keeps sprouting new tendrils, growing ever more beautiful and complicated and delicate. His new movie, “Frankie,” may the closest that anyone has come to making an American version of an [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Stubs A-List Becomes No. 1 Movie Subscription Service

    AMC Theatres’ Stubs A-List program, which allows customers to see three movies a week for $19.95 a month, has hit 800,000 subscribers. That figure is well ahead of the original projection, announced last June, for 500,000 subscribers by the end of its first year. According to AMC, the program is now the No. 1 moviegoing [...]

  • Millie Bobby Brown on Her Feature

    Millie Bobby Brown Calls Her Film Debut in 'Godzilla' 'Kind of Unreal'

    Millie Bobby Brown is no stranger to stardom thanks to “Stranger Things,” but she still can’t believe she’s making her feature film debut in the monster reboot “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” “It’s kind of unreal,” Brown told Variety at the premiere. “I’m like, ‘What is happening right now?’ It’s so bizarre and unreal, and [...]

  • Dakota Johnson Tracee Ellis Ross

    Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross Co-Starring in Comedy 'Covers'

    Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross will co-star in “Covers,” a comedy set in the music scene in Hollywood. “Late Night” director Nisha Ganatra is helming from a screenplay by Flora Greeson. Focus Features is partnering with Working Title Films on the movie. Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Alexandra Loewy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content