Inexplicably, a beloved 80s movie was remade for modern audiences with the gender roles reversed, and neither did the world come to an end nor were childhoods destroyed. Ghostbusters, starring four especially funny females in the title roles, came out this summer and was well received by all those who don’t lurk in the darkness of their parents’ basements, spreading misogynistic vitriol.
Why stop there, though? Surely it wasn’t easy — especially for Leslie Jones, who felt the brunt of hatred on Twitter for being both black and a woman at the same time (ironically, she makes a joke about that in the film). Paul Feig and Kate McKinnon also had to be careful talking about the sexuality of the character Jillian Holtzmann (she’s probably gay), while the producers of the film had to ensure that no one misunderstood a tweet congratulating Hillary Clinton on the Democratic nomination as an endorsement of her candidacy.
Nevertheless, the film came out and everything was just fine. So let’s do it again. Let’s continue to reimagine old films in modern times, diversifying the cast and doing away with archaic, harmful gender roles. Let’s continue to challenge audiences, disrupt the norms, break glass ceilings, and rile up those loathsome bottom-dwelling trolls of the Internet who need to get on board or go away.
With that in mind, here are a handful of notable films from the last few decades that should be remade with females in the lead roles, with Ocean’s 11 having been my first choice until doing some research and realizing that it’s actually happening. It’s happening!
Con Air (1997)
What better cheesy, 90s action ensemble movie to remake than one about a bunch of convicts on a plane, who cause chaos while a man with a heart of gold and a family back home tries to do right with the help of a dogged investigator on the ground? Name one.
The height of guiltily satisfying action flicks, a Con Air remake would be great for several reasons, including the fact that women can star in films where things explode with frequency. It would need a famous lead actor like Nicholas Cage who is actually really talented but also enjoys doing silly stuff. So Halle Berry it is! John Malkovich’s evil baddie can be played by Uma Thurman, while the two tough henchmen can be maybe Rosario Dawson and Kate Mara. Our hero’s on-the-ground partner is Jessica Chastain because she deserves a chance to mug around and be awesome. Lupita Nyong’O may be great as the crazy character originally portrayed by Steve Buscemi.
For this to fully work, though, we need a loving husband for Halle Berry, a man who’s taking care of a baby back home while constantly worrying about her safety. How about Chris Hemsworth? He’s so pretty.
Back to the Future (1985)
One of the greatest trilogies ever made, any remake would find it difficult to craft the wonder and adventure of the first, but it’s surely not impossible. What’s more, it’ll ruffle the feathers and rouse the rabbles of so many trapped in their gender stereotypes.
BTTF is fantastic, but it’s also of a certain time, and it’s hard to say if it would resonate with new audiences. So this adventure comedy with heart could use a makeover, and there are plenty of worthy actresses. Our new Marty McFly is Anna Kendrick, Doc Brown is Tilda Swinton, and the role of Biff, Griff, and Bufford Mad Dog Tannen can be Emily Blunt! Marty’s mom can be Susan Sarandon, but the pivotal role, in this gender swapping film, is that of Leah Thompson’s character in the original. Here it will be the father that is most crucial, and I can think of no one better than Chris Hemsworth.
Training Day (2001)
A great film by Antoine Fuqua featuring two standout performances from Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, Training Day is a tough, gritty, and tense thriller that takes place over the course of one fateful day in Los Angeles. It could absolutely be remade with two women. It would take on some different meanings and angles, but hey — women are cops too, and they can tell compelling cop dramas.
Now, Denzel played a spectacular character in this film, and it would be tough to fill, but surely Viola Davis could lend gravitas, tension, and excitement. As for the naïve-but-tough rookie cop, how about Alicia Vikander? She’s a perfect combination of innocence and resourcefulness, and she has an Oscar! I can’t recall whether Hawke’s character has a girlfriend or wife at home worrying in the original, but in this film, Vikander will have her doting man puttering back at the house, and it’s definitely going to be Chris Hemsworth.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Moving to the crime genre, Bryan Singer’s memorable 1995 mystery sports a great cast, a terrific story, and an unforgettable ending. Naturally, any remake would have to tweak the story a bit so as to maintain the mystery, but our five titular criminals this time around are no longer men. Bring in Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Zoe Saldana, and say, some exciting newcomer (!), and we’ve got a great movie starring talented women who can be conniving, convincing, and compelling. The destination will be as satisfying as the journey in this whodunit, made all the better if Kathryn Bigelow can direct. Also starring, somewhere, Chris Hemsworth.
Now, Cary Fukunaga is already helming a remake of the iconic Stephen King horror, planning on two installments to tell the story, with a possibility of changing some names, details, and chronology. The book tells of a group of seven friends, six of whom are guys, who encounter the menacing Pennywise The Clown as children and again as adults.
We don’t know the casting yet, though surely it’s not going to completely reverse the gender roles, but it should. While there are lots of horror films led by women over the last few years, few—if any—have had a predominantly female cast; there was The Descent, and that was fantastic, but that’s not enough. So let’s round up some great young actresses—we’re definitely bringing back Eleven from Stranger Things—and find their adult counterparts. And you know who would be great as the adult version of the only male hero? Oh yeah, Chris Hemsworth for the win.