Why Elizabeth Banks Wanted To Bring Charlie’s Angels Back

The new Charlie's Angels

We are riding a wave of nostalgia at the movie theaters these days, and it doesn’t look to be subsiding any time soon. Properties like Child’s Play, Toy Story, Aladdin and Spider-Man are luring audiences in with new stories from their franchises. On the horizon, we have live-action Lion King and a Fast & Furious spinoff to look forward to.

These days, you need a good reason to bring a familiar property back off of the proverbial production shelf, and Elizabeth Banks thinks she has a really good one for Charlie’s Angels. The longtime comedian and budding filmmaker will reinvent Charlie’s Angels for a new generation with a sequel that’s hitting theaters in November.

Recently, CinemaBlend was lucky enough to visit Banks’ Charlie’s Angels set in Berlin, where she opened up about her ideas behind the return of the female-fronted, ass-kicking series. Banks told us:

I honestly feel that the property has all of the bona fides of feminism already built in. I really didn’t have to do much other than honor its entire history. By that I mean, the original TV show was about women who went to the police academy but then were not allowed to actually be full police officers. They were given the jobs like ‘desk clerk’ and ‘meter maid.’ Charlie, Charles Townsend, came along and said, ‘Now they work for me. My name is Charlie.’ And [he] gave them the opportunity to live their best life. And I feel like this entire endeavor is about giving women the opportunity, including myself, to participate fully in a really big action franchise. We’ve done it. It’s been something that’s been in the DNA of Charlie’s Angels from the beginning.

As you likely recall, Charlies’ Angels started out as a television show that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1981. Though wildly popular at the time, the franchise got a breath of new life when it was reconfigured as an action franchise for Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.

The new team, as assembled by director Elizabeth Banks, will consist of Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, and Naomi Scott (of Aladdin). And on the set of the new movie, Banks explained how it’s the collaborative nature of the franchise that lured her in to tell a story in the Charlie’s Angels sandbox in the first place. Banks said:

I just love the idea that this is a franchise that’s not about a singular hero, it’s about the women who work together. There always were those three women in the TV show. Back in the day, they had the Six Million Dollar Man. This was about a team of women who got to work together, and I just have always loved that. I love the idea of fighting bad guys with your friends. I think that’s really important and something also that people love seeing right now. You see that with the Avengers movies, you see that -- I was in Power Rangers with Naomi Scott. I think people are responding to that in a way that even the Spider-Man movies now, you want to see Tom Holland, but you also want to see his best friend help him.I just love the idea that Charlie’s Angels has always been about a group and not about a singular hero. And I think that women collaborate. It’s a natural thing that women do anyway. We naturally collaborate, we naturally like to work together. We need each other. We recognize that. We like the support. That whole feeling that ‘it takes a village’ is something that I respond to and that I wanted to tell a story about. I love the idea of doing it in this movie. We did it in the Pitch Perfect movies as well, and [Charlie’s Angels] was another way to see a movie about women working together.

The first full trailer for Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels certainly sells the notion of teamwork in virtually every frame. Watch it now, if you haven’t yet seen it:

It’s definitely worth noting, too, that Elizabeth Banks will be making history in this new movie by becoming the first Bosley who also was a former Angel. Her cast sold that fact to us while we were on the set in Berlin, explaining:

Kristen Stewart: She’s the first Angel to become a lieutenant. So Bosley is a name for all of our lieutenants. And uh, so she inhabits this sort of like -- she’s got like this grace but also this world-weary kind of...whereas [the Angels] might be a little wide-eyed or overzealous... I would say I’m overzealous, [Naomi’s character is] a little wide-eyed, and [Ella’s character]--Ella Balinska: Needs to hone in something.Stewart: Needs to hone it in...needs to lighten it up a little bit. [all laugh] And so [Banks’ Bosley] has this, she has this ease in which she moves through this mission, which is very important, um--Naomi Scott: Experience.Stewart: Yeah, experience. She guides us. Literally it’s almost like, you know, kind of true to life.

While Charlie’s Angels producer Max Handelman elaborates on the historical nature of this move, elaborating:

Elizabeth’s character, she’s Bosley now, but she was a Charlie’s Angel earlier. She’s the first Angel who became a Bosley. You know again, these are just efforts to talk about -- without being super on the nose, without being super heavy handed about it -- like, you know, women evolving through the workplace, and you know once you’re done being an Angel you’re not just done. So her character’s graduated or been promoted to becoming Bosley.

We will get to see how all of this plays out on the big screen when Elizabeth Banks’ version of Charlie’s Angels opens in theaters on November 15. It will be competing against the likes of Midway and Ford v. Ferrari. Meanwhile, Terminator: Dark Fate still likely will be pulling in interested parties.

Which of those features do you think you will want to check out later this year? And to stay up to date on all of the movies opening in theaters this year, bookmark our release calendar and check it often.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.