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In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a bunch of action movies and dramas get tapped for small screen remakes, but somehow not a lot of black comedy thrillers are making that jump. That all changes with the currently in-development reimagining of Heathers, the cult 1980s flick that gave the world the soundbite “Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Teresa?” The remake is going down at TV Land, of all places, and they’re getting weird with it.
It’s not that difficult to get a mental image of what Heathers would be like as a serialized TV show, since all of the act beats are there in the original. But rather than stretch one story out over multiple seasons (potentially), TV Land’s Heathers will hit up a different group of insufferable school girls each season, attaching itself to the anthology trend that has been all the rage in recent years, partially spearheaded by FX’s American Horror Story. And that’s not all that’s different.
Should it get ordered, the initial season appears as if it will be the more direct take on the film, and Heathers will feature a new group of pop-evil Heathers, but in this present-day setting, the outcasts are the kings and queens of the school. Remember Lisanne Falk’s Heather McNamara? She’s a black lesbian now. Shannen Doherty’s Heather Duke? That character is now a man who identifies as gender-queer, and his real name is actually Heath. And Kim Walker’s Heather Chandler now resembles Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock, according to THR.
This version of the story will be handled by Jason Micallef, best known for penning the 2011 comedy Butter. It’s not clear whether or not he would be the guy behind additional seasons of new Heathers, and we’re just hoping that this first go-round is as memorable as the source material.
Directed by Michael Lehmann from a script written by Daniel Waters, Heathers was released in 1988 and had immediate success that doesn’t often happen with movies destined to go cult. In it, Winona Ryder’s Veronica wants to escape the insular Heathers world and teams up with Christian Slater’s rebellious J.D. on a mission to permanently take down all the cool kids. I’m hoping members of the original cast will pop in, if only for cameos.
This is far from the only time that a TV version of Heathers has been attempted, as there were attempts to get a series made at both Bravo and Fox. TV Land is certainly opening itself up to more interesting and varied comedic fare, with the ribald comedy Teachers already heading for Season 2 and an upcoming slate that includes the Melissa McCarthy/Ben Falcone-produced Nobodies and George Lopez’s Lopez. Heathers is obviously the extreme here, and we’re hoping it leads to even crazier original programming down the road.
Expect casting news for Heathers to kick into high gear in the coming weeks.