Ugh, as if anyone could ever replicate the greatness that was the original Clueless film. The 1995 re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Emma had it all: virtual closets. Nightmarish driving lessons. Step-sibling romance. Alicia freaking Silverstone.
So when Paramount announced last fall that a new Clueless movie—and not a continuation—is in development, we had some pretty conflicted feelings about it. As promising as it is to have Girls Trip producer Tracy Oliver on board and GLOW writer Marquita Robinson penning the script, living up to OG writer/director Amy Heckerling and her classic vision is a tall order.
Donald Faison, who played Murray in the movie and in the subsequent TV series (which ran from 1996-99), certainly doesn’t think it’s a good idea either. In fact he’s downright against it.
“I think it’s a big mistake to write a Clueless movie,” he told us at the Toronto CTV Upfront on Thursday while promoting his upcoming series Emergence with Allison Tolman (Fargo). “If it’s a remake I think it’s the biggest mistake ever. How are you going to take something that crushed it 20 years ago, and is still relevant today, and then remake it? “
Indeed, Clueless made stars out of names like Silverstone, the late Brittany Murphy, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, Breckin Meyer and Jeremy Sisto, it also pulled in decent box office numbers and continued to be discovered as a genius coming-of-age film for years after its release. So much so that loyal fans have been speaking out against the remake since it was announced.
“You’d have to be such a great writer, your development team has to be so dope,” continued Faison. “And, if you don’t have Amy Heckerling involved it makes no sense. If you’re remaking Clueless because you’re trying to make a stand? Guess what? It’s already been made. You can’t recast Alicia Silverstone. You can recast Paul Rudd.”
“I just don’t know if they need remakes of everything,” added Tolman, whose lead character on Emergence is also Faison’s character’s ex-wife. “There’s also a lovely nostalgia to Clueless… I don’t know if spoiled rich kids are as charming as they might have been 25 years ago.”
We suppose the argument could be made that high school life—even for rich kids—has evolved and changed considerably in the last decade-and-a-half, what with social media, cell phones, technology, cyber bullying and gender expression. But to fold all of that under the Clueless banner? That just seems like a completely different movie.
Also, we’re still digesting Clueless the musical, which Heckerling was involved in.
“This is what you’re going to obsess about now, this movie,” Tolman said, turning to Faison during the interview. “Now let me ask you a question. If they wanted you to play a high school counsellor…”
“Mr. Hall?! There’s a different conversation there. And then yes, let’s get it all on. I think it’s great!” Faison said with a laugh before turning serious again. “No. I really believe the best thing to do is to do a sequel to Clueless and bring back the original cast. Bring us all back and then do the stories of what happened as they got older because they were obviously still clueless when the movie ended. I just disagree with it. In the words of Mark Hamill to Rian Johnson, I fundamentally disagree with a remake.”
Or in the words of one Amy Heckerling, whatever.