Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is comedy about two con men with very different styles who compete to swindle one woman, with the loser having to leave town. That was 1988. Time for a remake.
In what can be no surprise, and maybe seems a long time coming, this classic comedy starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine is finally getting the Hollywood green light to get a second life. Reversing genders, the new film is called Nasty Women and is set to star Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway as two con artists looking to take a tech prodigy for all he’s worth. That part is as of yet un-cast, but a director has been announced. It’s Chris Addison, a television actor and director making his feature film debut.
It might seem trendy of course to have an all-female lead for the reboot, but if there is a film that seems primed for such a thing, it is surely this one, though the title Nasty Women doesn’t quite have the comedy charm of the original, sounding more like a women’s prison film than what it is. And with the further current comedy film trend being 90 minutes of brash, hyper-sexualized, over-the-top, over-compensating raucous types, it’s sure to have a much different tone. Still, Dirty Rotten Scoundrel was a solid hit, a surprising mix of two leads that seemed initially a pair that couldn’t pull it off, but did so with great effect. Perhaps that can be done again with tow female leads in similar fashion. The worry is the tendency of late to treat older classics with a parodic spin, which here would be a mistake.
Wilson of course is well-established as a very funny women, and Hathaway is no slouch in the genre either. While neither at this point have been confirmed for which part they will play, it seems fairly certain that Hathaway will be taking the Caine part and Wilson Martin’s.
The original film (actually a reworking of the 1964 movie Bedtime Story), is directed by Frank Oz and took place in the French Riviera, with Caine starring as the debonaire and extremely refined Lawrence Jamieson, a long conman who has made a fortune targeting less-than-angelic women for their wealth. Martin is Freddy Benson, a short conman who works for quick cash, down and dirty. On the same turf, they bump heads and egos and so make a contest to claim reign over the city. Comedy ensues. Seriously.
The movie is a great mix of high and low-brow jokes and pratfalls with Martin his usual very funny self and Caine revealing an impressive display of comedic timing as well. The reboot will, as mentioned, surely update the themes as it puts the women in scoundrel-ly roles, giving it a modern twist, and could still be funny. The talent is certainly there.
The new screenplay is by Jac Schaeffer, whose only other credit is Timer (2009), which he also directed. Few other details are known and no release date has been announced. Having recently watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels again, the idea for a remake is intriguing, and so let’s hope there is some tribute to the the classic rather than roasting, with maybe even a cameo or two. We’ll keep you posted.