Were it not for Hollywood’s push for greater equality and diversity, we may never have had the chance to see Cate Blanchett carry off a mega heist of the Met Gala – for that we must be grateful.
It’s not the first time women have, years later, had a chance to play parts men have played several times already and it won’t be the last. We’ve already had the controversial Ghostbusters reboot, which starred Kirsten Wiig and Leslie Jones, and still to come are planned remakes of Lord of the Flies , Splash and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
The mildly problematic Mel Gibson vehicle What Women Want is also getting a contemporary update as What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson, and there’s even (God help us) a planned release of The Expendabelles.
While some argue that these well-intentioned remakes are political correctness gone mad (old school Doctor Who fans, stay out of it), others say new female-led films and fresh ideas are a better answer to rectifying a stale, mostly male canon.
But representation matters and so too does Cyndi Lauper’s famous adage that girls just wanna have fun – so in that spirit, we’ve chosen the cinema classics that we’d love to see get a 21st century gender reboot.
Stand By Me
Stand By Me is a beautiful story about a group of pals on their wobbly travels through the last days of boyhood. But have you ever noticed that when the lads get a teen movie, it’s all card games in a tree house and camping with your mates? The girls, on the other hand, are either tricking each other into eating carb-loading nutrition bars, failing to get off with the school hunk until they’ve had a character-annihilating makeover, or accidentally swapping bodies with their mums. Far less fun, and usually left up to Lindsay Lohan.
It’s time for a girl squad to have some heartwarming bants on a train track whilst searching for a dead body for monetary reward. And Millie Bobby Brown should be ‘gramming the entire proceedings. Jessie Thompson
Withnail & I
Ah, Withnail & I; the sweary ode to aristocratic poverty, the highs and lows of drinking lighter fluid and whether or not it’s worth putting up with handsy uncles for a night in a country. It's an 80s masterpiece dedicated to a certain sort of lost Englishness but one that, over its 13 scotches, nine-and-a-half red wines and all, manages to all but forget women exist. Why not, say, long-suffering Rooney Mara crushed with embarrassment as a woozy Natalie Dormer asks for the finest wines available to humanity? Why not have them upset a bunch of lads on a stag, instead of old ladies in a tea room? Tortured men have had plenty of screen time already; doesn't Hollywood know woman have their demons too? There was plenty of bleakness in 1969 for the film to dwell on but the world in 2018 is hardly a beacon of light, either – and wouldn't Frances McDormand as Uncle Monty be a gloriously terrifying prospect? David Ellis
Ocean’s 8 focuses on a group of women who pull off the perfect heist — but what about when it all goes wrong? Quentin Tarantino’s grizzly crime thriller Reservoir Dogs is ripe for a remake, imagining how a group of female criminals would react in the aftermath of a chaotic jewellery store robbery. After all, it’d be worth it for the film’s iconic opening sequence alone: Hollywood’s leading women walking in slow-motion as George Baker’s Little Green Bag plays over the opening credits is something we definitely want to see.
Casting the film would be a dream for producers – Emily Blunt would be our choice for undercover cop Ms Orange and Meryl Streep would be great value in the role of master criminal Jo Cabot. Who knows, maybe a rebooted cast could finally settle the argument behind the meaning of Madonna’s Like a Virgin? Harry Fletcher
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
It’s time to say goodbye to the narrative of female characters being killjoys. Kerris Bueller’s Day Off has Saoirse Ronan starring and Zendaya as her loyal friend Cameron Frye. Abandoning the original lead’s manipulative streak and dismissal of Cam’s feelings, Kerris, a confident and resourceful teen, decides that a break from school is exactly what Cam needs to cheer up. Outsmarting an increasingly harried and aggravated Ms Rooney (the legendary Pippa Haywood), Kerris cruises in Cam’s mother’s convertible, crashes the main float at a Pride parade and delivers effortless speeches about intersectional feminism and the failings of capitalist society. Yes please. Zoe Paskett
Replace Fight Club’s predominantly male cast with some iconic female leads wanting to fight each other (perhaps Uma Thurman with her Kill Bill antics and Angelina Jolie channelling her Laura Croft days) and you’ve got an interesting film exploring modern femininity and mental health. Plus, it might just put to bed the perception that women can’t – or don’t want to – fight. Lizzie Thomson
A quick Google of “James Bond sexist quotes” shows that our man in the tux isn’t exactly a beacon of women’s rights. Aside from the rampant misogyny, however, Bond does have his cool moments: speedboat chases, Aston Martins with ejector seats, endless martinis and the like. So let’s take all the good stuff and replace the leading man with a leading woman (and the comedy value alone of then calling someone a Bond Boy should be enough to convince you). Our choice for the new 007? Tessa Thomspon. Her career is booming and she’s shown in her roles in Thor: Ragnarok as well as Westworld that she can handle both the action and drama that Bond demands. Jochan Embley
Lord of the Rings
With the grand total of two lead women characters out of an ensemble cast of eleventy million men (was there even a female orc?), Middle Earth is crying out for a bit of girl power. Shailene Woodley’s Frodo and Abigail Breslin’s Samwise would play out a tender exploration of female friendship, while Evan Rachel Wood’s Legolas and Hilary Swank’s Aragorn (wistfully pined after by Luke Evans’ Arwen) help kick a few orc butts. An epic battle between Helen Mirren’s Gandalf and Vanessa Redgrave’s Saruman should help chuck Hollywood’s female ageism issue into the fires of Mordor too. Ailis Brennan