In an online featurette for NBC’s “Rosemary’s Baby” miniseries (which starts May 11), the first word we hear from the cast is star Zoe Saldana saying, “The desire wasn’t to do a remake of Roman Polanski’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ ”
That being the case, any “reimagining” is going to bring with it comparisons to the Polanski horror classic.
Based on the trailers, teasers and glimpses behind the scenes, there are plenty of differences between the two versions of Ira Levin’s tale of paranoia and devil babies.
The heroine of this demonic story is probably going to be the biggest similarity between the two adaptations. Rosemary Woodhouse as played by Saldana and Mia Farrow hits more or less the same, broad beats. She gets pregnant, cuts her hair, eats raw meat, accuses everyone of being a witch, is right and gives birth to Satan’s son. You know, usual Rosemary stuff.
Rosemary’s smartass and ultimately devious husband, originally played by John Cassavetes, seems to be a little bit more palatable in the modern retelling. The line from the trailer, “You told me she’d be safe,” stands out in particular since movie Guy didn’t seem to care that much about Rosemary at all.
Moving the action from New York City to Paris will have at least some significant impact on the characters. In the featurette, Rosemary searches through the catacombs under the streets of Paris, perhaps looking for some explanation for what’s happening to her. Similarly for Guy, who now teaches at the Sorbonne instead of acting on Broadway.
Rosemary and Guy’s satanic next-door neighbors get an upper-class makeover for the miniseries. Now Roman Castevets is the suave Jason Isaacs, and Minnie is French. They’re very much a part of the society’s upper-crust, as opposed to a wily bunch of old kooks.
This will be the really interesting aspect of the miniseries to watch play out. Polanski’s “Rosemary” ends on a particularly dark note. The father of Rosemary’s son is revealed to be Satan, and the little boy is destined to rule the world in darkness. Rosemary is obviously disturbed beyond belief, but takes to her son’s side once he starts crying. The trailer for the miniseries shows Rosemary seemingly attempting to stab her son, but who knows how a television network will “reimagine” that classic final note.