‘The First Wives Club’ Turns 20: Will The Reboot Dazzle Us Like The Original?
By Kristin Lai
September 21, 2016 at 03:51PM
Time to break out your best all-white attire and warm up your voice for a sizzling rendition of “You Don’t Own Me,” because we’re here to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1996 comedy The First Wives Club!
Directed by Hugh Wilson, The First Wives Club tells the story of three best friends who drift apart after graduating college. Almost 30 years later, they reconnect after a death and decide to exact revenge on their ignorant exes.
Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film became a commercial hit, raking in a whipping $181.5 million in the box office and creating some of the most memorable characters of the ’90s. But when you combine the star power of Keaton, Midler and Hawn, what do you really expect?
In a recent interview with Broadly, The First Wives Club’s casting director Ilene Starger discussed the popularity of the film, and gave some insight into how these three women landed the popular roles.
They really were the dream team for this project at the top of everyone’s wish list! And they are superb in the film: witty, heartbreaking and ultimatelyâ€”as their charactersâ€”triumphant! … And Bette, Goldie, and Diane brought so much talent, class, high intelligence to their roles. They worked incredibly hard.
Together Keaton, Midler and Hawn had a palpable chemistry that resonates with audiences of all age groups and multiple generations. According to Starger, this kind of spark only comes along once in a blue moon.
It is rare, and when it happens, it’s a gift. It’s why audiences go to films and theatre, and watch TV: to see incredibly talented actors bringing characters to lifeâ€”characters which show us a great deal about ourselves as human beings.
TV Land hopes to make lightning strike twice, and announced a long-gestating television reboot this summer. The modernized version of The First Wives Club will be written by New Girl’s Rebecca Addelman and produced by Sex and the City alumna Jenny Bicks and Karen Rosenfelt.
The actresses slated to fill the massive heels of this fierce trio are Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother), Megan Hilty (Wicked) and Vanessa Lachey (Dads). The storyline reads almost identical, but with a few adjustments:
Set in present-day San Francisco, the story revolves around three women â€“ friends and classmates in the â€™90s â€“ who reconnect after their close friend from college dies in a freak accident. When they discover that they are all at a romantic crossroads, they band together to tackle divorce, relationships and lifeâ€™s other annoying challenges.
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Hannigan will be playing a role equivalent to Keaton’s Annie, renamed Maggie; Hilty will take on Hawn’s role of the beautiful yet self-conscious aging actress, now named Kim instead of Elise.
The biggest change omits Midler’s character Barbara, in favor of a different character, Sasha, played by Lachey. Her character is “a driven and successful chef in San Francisco” who has a “a hot restaurant and a great girlfriend who she plans to marry,” that is, until reconnecting with her friends puts her life into perspective.
In her interview, Starger admitted, “there’s no way to know in advance … if actors will have chemistry when working together.” To be completely honest, I’m not entirely sold that these three will be able to dazzle us the same way Keaton, Midler and Hawn did, but hopefully Hannigan, Hilty and Lachey can find a satisfying groove for fans of the original.
A premiere date for the reboot has yet to be set, but in the meantime we can all revel in the perfection that is the 1996 First Wives Club. I urge you to p
Happy 20th anniversary to The First Wives Club!