There’s an awful lot of chatter about women in entertainment right now. Lots of high profile individuals are ever so bravely ‘speaking out’ about the systemic sexism that prevents women behind the camera from getting jobs and getting projects made. The frustrating thing is that, while there are a vast number of people talking about the issue, there seem to be very few people actually undertaking to rectify the gender imbalance.
Actions speak louder than words and, while Star Wars producers, Marvel producers, and performers like Jennifer Lawrence have yet to actually deal with women directors on more than a token basis, Academy Award nominee James Franco is literally putting his money where his mouth is, with a remake of Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?
Indeed, while marquee names are jumping on the bandwagon and lamenting the misogyny faced by women in film and television, James Franco is executive producing an update of the 1996 film to air on Lifetime in 2016. The original movie starred Tori Spelling, and was intended for theatrical release. It failed to find a distributor, though, and was eventually broadcast on NBC as a TV movie.
Franco has written the story for the remake and the script from that story has been written by Amber Coney. The new version will be directed by Melanie Aitkenhead, who recently worked with Franco on Actors Anonymous. Women also number among his fellow executive producers, who include Vince Jolivette (Spring Breakers), and Diane Sokolow and Rachel Verno (The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story).
It is notable that Franco has assembled a female-centric team for this project, because it is a female-centric story. Originally based on the novel of the same name by Claire R. Jacobs, the tale sees a young woman named Laurel face life-changing challenges as her seemingly perfect boyfriend is revealed to be dangerously obsessive. As her mother, Jessica, learns more about his disturbing past, the present threat to Laurel becomes upsettingly clear.
Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? is a story about women, written by a woman, but the 1996 version was adapted and directed by men (Edmond Stevens and Jorge Montesi, respectively). While the original was delivered under the Sokolow Company banner, it will be interesting to see an adaptation from a woman’s creative perspective, and discover whether that will ensure greater success for James Franco’s latest project.