I just learned that 20th Century Fox announced at the end of January they are remaking one of the most beloved of all time campy movies; Valley of the Dolls. Actresses who are rumored for roles in the remake include Madonna, Jennifer Lawrence, and Anne Hathaway. Coincidently yesterday my stylist and I were just chatting about remaking Valley of the Dolls. Unlike the two Oscar winners and living legend that 20th Century Fox would like cast, our version is more humbling and I might add more in the spirit of the traditional three AM showing of the film.
If you are unfamiliar with the storyline, than congratulations apparently you have no trouble getting your beauty rest. The novel was written by Jacqueline Susann (a woman who knew a lot about what life was like living as a D listed celebrity until her writing career took off) and was allegedly based on Judy Garland and Ethel Merman. It is about three friends who are involved with the entertainment business in varying degrees; Neely O’Hara as the star, Jennifer North as the beautiful showgirl, and Anne Welles as the independent woman who wants to make her way in the world but is thwarted by her relationships with men. Thrown in the mix are wigs and sex, but mostly drugs in pill form called “dolls.” The film version was released in 1967.
Because our recasting conversation was spun off a Lindsay Lohan observation, Mark suggested Lohan for the main role of songster/actress extraordinaire Neely O’Hara originally played by Patty Duke. I however did not concur for fear that even in our imaginary version of the film Lohan would be a nightmare to work with – always late, always an excuse, always a shocking revelation that I feel I should accept because of its tragic overtones but don’t know if it is true because of her track record. We compromised and said we would come up with a new character for Lohan to play, a cameo of family and career dysfunction, something that wouldn’t necessarily require the actress to actually show up. She would be a reference point, a cautionary tale of sorts for our Neely. Someone who one of the more soberly inclined characters would say in a moment of concerned seriousness, “Neely, don’t end up like _______,” and whose advice Neely will willfully ignore because she needs her dolls more than her self-respect. And if she takes her dolls with liquor it’s only because they work faster! “I want a doll! I want a doll!” We cast Christina Aguilera as Neely.
For the ill-fated Jennifer, originally played by the ill-fated Sharon Tate, Mark offered up Jessica Simpson on the condition she lose weight. Since she is on Weight Watchers again I don’t think we have to worry about that. In fact Simpson will be down to her Dukes of Hazzard weight before Lohan makes it to our non-existent set on time.
As for Anne, the most grounded of the characters played originally by Barbara Parkins, Mark and I immediately thought Katie Holmes! You know the girl wants to continue with her film career as if her marriage to you know who never happened. People would buy her as Anne for Anne was the most sensible of the three leads and the one who ended the movie with most of her morals and sanity in check. I am sure the studio wants Anne Hathaway for this part because her current hair seems ever so soccer mom, but I hope they consider Holmes if for no other reason but she just seems like she really needs a meaty role…and a job.
For the role of Helen Lawson, the diva Neely aims to take down (along with some wig pulling off action) we cast…I don’t remember who we finally decided on because there are so many women who would be right for this part. Cher wouldn’t do it because she is on tour. Jessica Lange is too perfect for words so we couldn’t mar her reputation by casting her. I am just going to say we cast Pam Anderson even though her name was never mentioned. Wait, maybe we did say Madonna.
Since Mark knows the movie better than I do he was throwing out a lot of actor names for the male characters of which I only knew them as either Neely’s husband, Neely’s lover that she stole from Anne, and Jennifer’s husband with the incurable illness. He suggested George Clooney for one of the parts which would have been great if we hadn’t agreed to cast Lindsay Lohan as a glorified extra because I don’t think Clooney would ever do a project with Lohan – even a project that was cooked up between color foils and the shampoo station. We also talked about Tom Cruise but we agreed we would lose Katie Holmes and we were both sold on her being a perfect Anne so I guess that means Cruise will have to make due with yet another science fiction film that will do so-so at the box office. Really any assortment of men could play the secondary male characters. I foresee that we would have to round out our cast with television actors who want to make the break into feature films – albeit ones that go no further than this article.
So there you have it, the cast that will never be in the movie that never really was.
Last word, Mark wants to jettison Dionne Warwick out of retirement for the theme song which is something I think we can do.
Happy simulated viewing!