Wishing on a casting call

Someday these remakes will come

Published: Apr 01 2016, 01:01:am

Sunday, April 1, 1990.
BLAME TURTLEMANIA. ON THE very day that the independently produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released [March 30, 1990], two U.S. majors announced plans for live-action features based on cartoon characters.
    In Los Angeles, Walt Disney Pictures has given the green light to a non-animated remake of its own historic first feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
    In New York, the Time-Warner corporation committed itself to The Looniest Looney Tune. Designed as a tribute to the famous Warner Brothers cartoons, it is being described as "the life-long dream" of its producer, Warren Beatty, and director Steven Spielberg.
    Together, they've assembled a cast that reads like a Hollywood Who's Who. Beatty, who'll be seen later this summer as Dick Tracy, will star as "wascally wabbit" Bugs Bunny. His 1987 Ishtar partner, Dustin Hoffman, has agreed to appear as Elmer Fudd.
    Scheduled for a Christmas 1991 release, Spielberg's comic fantasy is expected to be a major megahit. Already signed are Marlon Brando (as Porky Pig), Jack Nicholson (Daffy Duck) and Richard Dreyfuss (Yosemite Sam).
    Harrison Ford is set to play Sylvester Q. Pussycat to Meryl Streep's Tweety Bird. Robert De Niro and Jane Fonda, recently teamed as Stanley & Iris, will be back together as Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
    Also signed are Paul Newman (as Foghorn Leghorn) and Richard Gere (Pepe Le Pew). Eddie Murphy will appear in a cameo role as Bosko, the first Warners cartoon star.
    Disney's plans for its live-action Snow White remake are less detailed. On the shelf for at least five years, the idea was originally put forward by Bette Midler.
    The actress suggested it as a tie-in to the 1987 celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Disney classic. She also proposed herself for the title role.
    Midler's name was not mentioned at Friday's press conference.
    Casting announcements would "follow later," said Snow White producer Alan Ladd Jr. Set to direct the epic is Roman Polanski, who will shoot the picture on location in Bavaria.
     In selecting his seven dwarfs, Polanski has decreed a height limit of 5' 6" [167 cm]. Known to be on the director's short list are:
     Robert Blake, Charles Bronson, Danny De Vito, Richard Dreyfuss, Michael J. Fox, Mel Gibson, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Hopper and Harvey Keitel. Also under consideration are David McCallum, Dudley Moore, Rick Moranis, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Prince, Mickey Rooney, Fred Savage, Sylvester Stallone, Paul Williams and Burt Young.
    The role of Snow White appears to have come down to a choice between Sigourney Weaver and Geena Davis. Grace Jones, however, has been mentioned as a longshot contender.
    Scheduled to go before the cameras in late summer, Polanski's feature is scheduled to premiere one year from today, on April 1, 1991.

The above is a restored version of an exclusive Province report by Michael Walsh originally published in 1990. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: Like my 1977 Warn the Trekkies "report" (detailing Paramount's plans for its long-delayed Star Trek feature), the above news item was keyed to an April Fool's Day publication date. The one thing that I did not make up was Bette Midler's prescience. Shortly after signing her 1985 contract with Disney, the Divine Miss M really did suggest a live-action Snow White remake. She was probably aware of the 1984 episode of Shelley Duvall's television show, Faerie Tale Theatre, in which Elizabeth McGovern played Snow White opposite Vanessa Redgrave (as the Evil Queen). In 1987, the independent Cannon Films marked the Disney anniversary with a direct-to-video Snow White feature that starred Sarah Patterson (Snow White) and Diana Rigg (Evil Queen).
    A decade later, Sigourney Weaver starred in the 1997 theatrical feature, Snow White: A Tale of Terror, playing the evil queen to Monica Keena's plucky princess. British Columbia greenery first became the Enchanted Forest in 2000's Snow White: Fairest of Them All, a made-for-TV feature with Vancouver-born Kristin Kreuk in the title role opposite Miranda Richardson's Evil Queen. Disney finally got back into the game in 2011, with the premiere of Once Upon a Time. The filmed-in-B.C. TV series has involved just about everybody from the Magic Kingdom's animated feature catalogue during its five seasons to date. At the centre of its continuing narrative are top-billed stars Lana Parrilla, as Regina, and Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow.
    Nor do the live-action remakes end there. In 2012, three features told the tale anew. Snow White and the Huntsman offered Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth in the title roles, with Charlize Theron as the Queen. Mirror, Mirror, filmed on location in Montreal, paired Lily Collins and Julia Roberts as Snow White and the Queen. Grimm's Snow White, an independent U.S. direct-to-video production, starred Eliza Bennett (Snow) and Jane March (Queen).
    And here's breaking news: According to a report in yesterday's (March 31) Hollywood Reporter, the Disney studios are developing Rose Red, a live-action remake of the original Snow White that will add Snow's sister Rose Red to the tale. Seriously. The screenplay is being credited to Evan Daugherty, who co-wrote the 2012 Universal Picture's release Snow White and the Huntsman. Not joking here, despite the fact that it's April Fool's day. If you don't believe me, Google it.