She'll be an assassin in "Smokin' Aces" and a best friend in "The Nanny Diaries," but with two supporting roles that hasn't reached the big screen, Alicia Keys has yet to cast a spell on Hollywood. That might change with the singer's first lead role, as a witch in a remake of "Bell, Book and Candle."
Keys can't wait to take on the part of Gillian, played by Kim Novak in the 1958 original, mostly because she relates to the more realistic side of this witch's life. Though the character is a witch, she mixes with modern society — she went to college and runs a shop in New York's Greenwich Village. But she also has a secret life that involves hanging with other witches and warlocks, mostly at jazz clubs. That "underground society" interested Keys the most, since it's "the kind of thing you never really think about." The story, a predecessor to "Bewitched," explores what happens when witches and mortals get mixed up with one another, or even accidentally fall in love.
"[Gillian is] a young woman who feels a little out of place, like I think we all do or have at one time or another," Keys said, adding with a laugh, "or all the time. So where do you find what you're looking for? Where is the magic in your life? And where is the magic in love? And is it magic? Is love magic? It's a universal topic, and that's what I love about it."
The problem with a witch falling in love with a mortal is that, in this world at least, it means she loses her powers — she can't have both. Gillian knows this, but casts a love spell anyway in an attempt to lure a man away from her old college rival. Though her intent wasn't to fall in love, she does anyway, which gives rise to a painful dilemma: love or magic? Which should she choose? Can she choose? "So the question then becomes, what will you sacrifice?" Keys explained. "What would give you satisfaction?"
Keys promised that her "Bell, Book and Candle" — she's also a producer on the yet-unfilmed project — won't be a cookie-cutter remake of the original, but, despite the universal themes, will feel more contemporary.
"We're definitely going to switch it up," Keys said. "In that time era [when the original movie was made], it was less important to get into a character study. So we're going to really delve into the characters more, get a feel for each one, what gets them to be the way that they are. That's the fly part about it to me. It's going to be great stuff."
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