The new $90m Hollywood movie version of the TV series 'I Dream of Jeannie' is due for release next year. Judging from everything the director, Gurinder Chadha has been saying about this movie, it's got little to do with the TV series we all know and love at all:
"It's a Hollywood movie for Sony Pictures, a prequel to I Dream of Jeannie. It's set in ancient Persia, 200 BC, the time where Jeannie comes from. But we do go to Cocoa Beach later. It's a contemporary feminist adventure with an $80 million budget. I consider myself to be a feminist filmmaker, and I go out of my way to make three-dimensional female characters. When you go back and look at the old show, it's really dodgy [creepy]. I remembered it as this flighty little '60s show. But I went back and watched the pilot. Barbara Eden is like, 4 months pregnant, that's why she had so much material covering her everywhere. She turns up on Cocoa Beach, which is actually a beach in L.A., and she comes out of the bottle and sees the astronaut. And as soon as she sees him, she falls in love right away... moaning, "Ahhhhh," and caressing him. It's about her being in love with him... Every man's fantasy. I've been having a lot of fun learning about all the special effects and computer graphics cheating that goes on. We'll be filming it this summer, and it'll be ready in the summer of 2006."
"I'm directing a screen version of the American television series "I Dream Of Jeannie". We've zeroed in on two major Hollywood actresses. One of them will play the lead. It's the role of a 17-18 year old. It's a prequel to the popular TV show. It will be set in Persia. It's a huge studio movie with action, adventure and special effects. It will be much bigger than "Bride & Prejudice" with a budget of $80-90 million. It’s all about a girl who wants to be a soldier in the king’s army. She’s very good at sword fighting. But her mother says no... there comes a time when she has to put her sword down and be serious, get married, be in a harem. And in my films girls never end up doing that... The king then casts a spell on her and says, ‘From this day you will have to say ‘Yes, master’ to every man you see.’ My film is about how she tries to break that spell.” Chadha's next directorial project is an arabesque fantasy. It's an adaptation of the hit American serial I Dream Of Jeannie, about the life of a suburban witch. I've finalised Kate Hudson to play Jeannie! We start shooting this summer, in the US and Canada."
Kate Hudson is no longer attached to the role. However, Ashton Kutcher [pictured left] has been cast as Major Nelson! In the original TV series, Jeannie was not a mortal turned into a genie, but a genie descended from a long line of genies. Genies were not human, but smoke, and they could use their magic to do or get anything at all... except for the love of her master. That's the essence of the TV series. In the new movie version, if the current rumours are correct, Jeannie is a Muslim girl in 200BC (years before the foundation of the religion) who is punished by being turned into a genie and having to serve her master. So instead of trying to please her master to attain his affections and by trying too hard inadvertantly causing chaos, this new Jeannie will be a feminist who will more than likely use her powers to intentionally cause mischief. Why promise something in the title of a movie (a remake of your favourite TV series) then deliver something completely different? (an action adventure girl-power movie).
Oh well... this movie has been in the starting blocks for at least a decade so far... we'll keep our eyes posted for the latest developments.