Eighteen years after What Women Want, Hollywood is trading up from Mel Gibson to Taraji P. Henson. What Men Want, a gender-swapped remake of Nancy Meyers’s 2000 comedy, stars Henson as a sports agent who is shut out of the “boys’ club” at her workplace — until she acquires the magical ability to read men’s thoughts. Watch the first trailer above.
In the original film, Gibson played a lothario and proud chauvinist whose life took a turn when he began to hear women’s thoughts. Instead of trying to seduce or manipulate the women in his life, he learned how to be sensitive to their needs — in particular, the needs of a beautiful co-worker played by Helen Hunt. The comedy was a massive hit, the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year. (Remember when a sophisticated comedy could do better box office than a superhero movie? In 2000, What Women Want made $182 million. The original X-Men made $157 million.)
What Men Wants spins the same premise in a very different direction, with a Jerry Maguire-style twist. Henson uses her psychic “gift” to angle for the promotion she deserves and to land a hotshot client. But Henson told Yahoo Entertainment that her character’s journey is not just professional; she also learns to get in touch with her “softer side.”
“She was raised by a single father who owns a boxing gym, so all her life she’s been around men, and you would think she’d know how to operate with men … but she doesn’t,” Henson said. (See the interview below.)
Henson added that she jumped at What Men Want because she’s been “dying to do a comedy.” Best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of cutthroat record exec Cookie on Empire, along with playing Katherine Johnson in Hidden Figures and an Oscar-nominated role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Henson has never had a lead role in a big-screen comedy — and judging from the Twitter reaction, her fans are just as excited as she is.
— Edward Sanchez (@edwardistheman) August 14, 2018
“I thought black people stopped drinking tea after get out!”
— Noelle Devoe (@Noelle_CD) August 14, 2018
Ohhh the Mel Gibson remake! Taraji you are so funny. I am happy when you are in parts that ain’t shredding you emotionally lol
— Paige Dahl (@Paigedahls) August 14, 2018
OMG!!!! I’m so excited for this!!!! Been such a fan of What Women Want, so I’m hyped to see the other side!!!! You’re gonna kill it mama 🙌🏼🔥 #WhatMenWant
— ♡ Amber ♡ REP Santa Clara Night 1 (@GleekAmber) August 14, 2018
What Men Want, directed by Adam Shankman and co-starring Tracy Morgan, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Josh Brener, Tamala Jones, Phoebe Robinson, Max Greenfield, Jason Jones, Brian Bosworth, Chris Witaske, and Erykah Badu, opens in theaters on Jan. 11.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: