Chick Flicks

Female leads dominate gender-swapped film remakes

Hearing about a classic movie remake is nothing new, but many such announcements lately have been coupled with a twist: gender-swapped roles. While the tactic of flipping gender roles recently took hold in literature and TV, the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters was merely the start of a slate of film projects employing the strategy.


With a cast that reads like a list of who’s who of women in Hollywood, Ocean’s Eight is slated for a 2017 release. The film follows the series’ trope of a leader, played by Sandra Bullock, who rallies a gang of thieves and con artists including Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, and Mindy Kaling to pull off a daring heist. The latest reboot is co-written and directed by Gary Ross, who also wrote and directed The Hunger Games. Anne Hathaway, Awkwafina, and Rihanna are in talks to join as well. Steven Soderbergh, who directed the Ocean’s Eleven remake, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen, is producing.


When Brian Grazer first revealed that he was working on a new version of his 1984 rom-com Splash, few would have suspected the gender-swapping twist. In Daryl Hannah’s memorable mermaid role, the upcoming film will feature Channing Tatum as a merman, and the land-based love interest originally played by Tom Hanks will be played by Jillian Bell. It was Bell who suggested the idea of flipping the gender roles of the lead characters. Grazer and then-partner Ron Howard are slated to produce the update, and Marja-Lewis Ryan is working on the script. The film will be released by Disney.


Rebel Wilson is headlining the remake of the 1988 classic comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. While the original version featured two con men, one smooth and suave and one unsophisticated, trying to swindle a wealthy heiress of her fortune, the update will reprise the concept with the crooks as a pair of women and the target as a naïve male tech prodigy. Wilson will act as producer along with Roger Birnbaum, and Jac Schaeffer will pen the script. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is just one forthcoming 1980s remake in which Wilson is involved; she will also be starring in a reboot of Private Benjamin.