Another Goldie Hawn movie is set for a remake. Two weeks after the announcement that Jennifer Lopez would take over Hawn's role in an "Overboard" redo, The Hollywood Reporter confirms that [movieperson id="242920"]Anna Faris[/movieperson] has been cast in the title role for a "Private Benjamin" update in development at New Line.
And while the studio's other training-program-set '80s remake, "Police Academy," is sure to poke lots of fun at law enforcement, this new "Private Benjamin" will be a more respectful handling of the armed forces than one might expect. Released in 1980, the original "Benjamin" told the story of a spoiled woman who enlists in the army after her husband dies on their wedding night. The fish-out-of-water tale earned an Oscar nomination for its screenplay as well as acting nods for Hawn and supporting actress Eileen Brennan, who later reprised her role for a spin-off TV series.
Faris, who was last seen in the 2009 mall-cop comedy "Observe and Report" and more recently was heard voicing animated characters in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," will be the third actress to play the part of Private Benjamin. She follows Lorna Patterson's three-season role on the small screen.
The remake will be scripted by filmmaker Amy Talkington, best known for adapting the Britney and Lynne Spears novel "A Mother's Gift" for the 2004 ABC Family movie "Brave New Girl"; she also wrote the screenplay for an upcoming "Valley Girl" remake. Mark Gordon, an executive producer on the drama series "Army Wives" and an Oscar nominee for "Saving Private Ryan," is producing.
This new version of "Benjamin" will modernize the plot, setting it amid the current U.S. military climate, though the comedy will reportedly have no political leanings. Humor will come primarily from the general culture shock of boot camp for Faris' character and won't poke fun at either the Army or those in its service.
Movies connected to or reflecting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tend to be marked as box-office poison, yet New Line's angle on the remake is focused more on the female-empowerment themes of the original film than on topicality. Whether or not this direction helps "Private Benjamin" avoid the war-movie curse may hinge on rising star Faris' ability to draw in moviegoers.
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