By Chris Gardner
Clean slate: Judging by some top-tier talent at ShoWest, the chic thing to do is star in a remake of a film that you never saw. Just ask Meryl Streep and Bette Midler.
Both made appearances in Las Vegas to promote their personal Paramount Pictures projects — Streep in a redo of “The Manchurian Candidate” and Midler in the second incarnation of “The Stepford Wives” — and both admitted backstage prior to the studio’s ShoWest gala dinner that they hadn’t seen the famous originals when they signed their contracts.
Says Streep of her role in the Jonathan Demme-directed film based on the 1962 original: “I had chances to see it, but then when I decided to do it, I didn’t want to see it for fear of copying Angela Lansbury — well not copying her, really, but subconsciously tapping into the character she played.”
As for Midler, she eventually sat down to watch “Stepford Wives,” but only after finishing her work on the Frank Oz film, toplined by Nicole Kidman. “I was really surprised after watching it, it seemed very, very low-budget, and this (new) movie is very big with amazing production design and beautiful sets — it’s a big movie and just screams summer fun to me,” Midler says.