Yes, the stuff that you can get away with back in the late 1960’s – especially when high on certain “substances“The kinky 1968 French sci-fi romp Barbarella served as the launch pad (bad pun alert!!!) for Jane Fonda‘s career as an actress. Based on a comic strip first written in 1962 by French bande-desineéur Jean-Claude Forest, it was lushly directed by Fonda’s then-husband Roger Vadim (ironically, another of Vadim’s wives, Brigitte Bardot, served as the inspiration for the comic-strip character)
With an all-“star” cast including Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ then-paramour Anita Pallenberg as La Reine Noire (The Black Queen), John Philip Law as Pygar and Milo O’Shea as Durand Durand (whose character would eventually lend his name to influential ’80s British band Duran Duran), viewers were treated to a sensual spectacle of intergalactic proportions. It was a risque (for its time) kaleidoscope of Batman-esque camp that has to be seen to be believed – and we’re talking about the ’60s TV series with Adam West and Burt Ward here.
If I recall, the first time I saw the actual film itself was at a Japanese cable channel whose now-defunct local feed was – for a time – infamous for airing nudity and simulated sex during the midnight hours on weekends.
Several years back, I have read that Drew Barrymore was interested in remaking the film with herself playing the title role. Seeing her kick ass in the Charlie’s Angels films – which she also co-produced – made me think otherwise; she can’t exactly pull off la belle Fonda’s borderline-ditzy naïvete.
Cult-minded auteur Robert Rodriguez was also once attached to said property, for the express purpose of working “that Jane Fonda magic” with Rose McGowan. Even Anne Hathaway was attached to said project, which was supposed to be directed by Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, 21, the upcoming Paranoia)
Now I hear that rights-holder Martha DeLaurentiis – daughter of the original film’s producer Dino – is planning a TV series adaptation of the property along with Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Only God Forgives, Drive) as well as James Bond scriptéurs Neal Purvis and Robert Wade . Their pitch is said to draw inspiration more from Forest’s original comic than Vadim’s adaptation, which should work better in one-hour installments rather than a two-hour digest. Likewise, they can go “further” with the greater creative freedoms afforded by cable TV; the cinema hasn’t been hospitable lately to “rebooted” classics of certain vintage (we’re looking at you, John Carter and The Lone Ranger).
As for the casting…how about American singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey to fill in Fonda’s PVC boots (or whatever sexy-yet-sensible space suit could be concocted)? Lana has the facial bone structure to pull off the ditzy deer-in-the-headlights naivete that Fonda possessed in the original film. She can even toss some songs in for a possible soundtrack (given Refn’s deft musical choices, a possibility)
All that at a reasonable fraction of Anne Hathaway’s typical paycheck.
Now if she can only work that out on her busy touring and promo schedule.