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Diane English (Finally) to Direct The Women Remake

The Women movie Paulette Goddard Mary Boland Norma ShearerThe Women movie with Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland, and Norma Shearer: Accompanied by no-nonsense chorus girl Paulette Goddard and Perfect Wife – and soon-to-be Cunning Divorcée – Norma Shearer, Mary Boland reflects on l’amour, l’amour.
  • Murphy Brown creator Diane English is slated to write and direct a 21st-century remake of MGM’s all-female comedy classic The Women. Meg Ryan and Annette Bening are two of the prospective cast members.

Diane English will (finally) direct The Women remake; Meg Ryan and Annette Bening to lead all-female cast

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

According to Variety, a remake of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s 1939 all-female comedy classic The Women – itself the big-screen transfer of Clare Boothe Luce’s 1936 all-female stage comedy hit – will mark the directorial feature film debut of Diane English, the writer-creator of the long-running, two-time Emmy-wining television comedy series Murphy Brown (1988–1998).

English had previously been attached as the screenwriter of a planned mid-1990s The Women remake to have starred actresses-producers Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts, with Academy Award winner James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, 1983) as director. She has been trying to get the project off the ground ever since.

Julia Roberts has moved on to other pastures, but Meg Ryan remains on board. Variety states that Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, and Ashley Judd are all in negotiations to star in the new version, while Uma Thurman has been mentioned as a possible addition to the cast.

Betrayed wife Annette Bening

The story of (mostly) upscale female New Yorkers, their men problems, and assorted social and sexual rivalries, MGM’s The Women was directed by George Cukor from a screenplay by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin. In the cast: Queen of MGM Norma Shearer; her studio rival, Joan Crawford, at the time in a career slump; and rising contract actress Rosalind Russell.

As per Variety, two-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening (The Grifters, 1990; American Beauty, 1999) will be taking over the old Shearer role (which seemed to have been made to order for someone like Meg Ryan): Deceptively sweet cheated-on wife Mary Haines.

If indeed cast in the film, Uma Thurman will play the scheming, shopgirl/husband-stealer Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford in the original).

The Diane English remake is to be co-produced by none other than Mick Jagger, alongside Victoria Pearman and Christopher Eberts. New Line Cinema is the potential distributor.

Long-forgotten would-be reboot

The first The Women reboot – like the original, an MGM production – came out in 1956. Renamed The Opposite Sex, it stars June Allyson, Joan Collins, and Dolores Gray, and features an array of male performers (Leslie Nielsen, Jeff Richards, etc.) and several songs.

Besides, in the late 1970s/early 1980s, producers Polly Platt (I’ll Do Anything, The Evening Star) and Jon Peters (Eyes of Laura Mars, The Main Event) – not necessarily working in tandem – considered an adaptation of The Women to star Platt’s friend and Peters’ then-companion Barbra Streisand.

Joining the 1970s’ top female domestic box office draw would have been two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Jane Fonda (Klute, 1971; Coming Home, 1978) and, according to online sources, another Best Actress winner, Faye Dunaway (Network, 1976).

“Diane English (Finally) to Direct The Women Remake” notes

The Women 1939 also features Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland, Joan Fontaine, Lucile Watson, Phyllis Povah, Marjorie Main, Virginia Weidler, Florence Nash, Ruth Hussey, Virginia Grey, Butterfly McQueen, Mary Beth Hughes, Hedda Hopper, and others.

The Opposite Sex also features Ann Sheridan, Ann Miller, Joan Blondell, Agnes Moorehead, Charlotte Greenwood, Sam Levene, and others.

See also: Critics deride and audiences indifferent to Diane English’s The Women remake.

Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, and Norma Shearer The Women movie image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

“Diane English (Finally) to Direct The Women Remake” last updated in April 2023.

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