While small screen remakes of big screen features are nothing new, it’s rarer for a film’s storyline to continue living on in a serialized TV show. But there are currently a handful of just those kinds of projects on the air and in development, including a follow-up to the libido-driven 1999 drama Cruel Intentions, which was just ordered to pilot at NBC. While no one has been cast yet, it looks like the producers are trying to get Sarah Michelle Gellar to reprise her role from the original.
It wasn’t immediately obvious how the drama’s roles would be approached for the jump to television when first announced, but it would have been a strange plan if they didn’t put feelers out for any cast members who would want to return, particularly the person at the head of the project. At this point, the actress hasn’t responded to the reported request for her participation in the pilot, but Deadline reports she has apparently been sent the script, which she’s looking over.
Cruel Intentions for the 21st century would center on Gellar’s character Kathryn Merteuil as she tries to gain control of Bash Casey, the son of Ryan Phillippe’s Sebastian Valmont and Reese Witherspoon’s Annette Hargrove. As well, she’s attempting to take over Valmont International. If everything is indeed revolving around this one character and not a gaggle of deceitful youngins, then the show definitely needs as talented an actress as possible to anchor it, and it could be a great vehicle for Sarah Michelle Gellar to return to TV with.
“Could be” are the key words there, since no guarantees are possible concerning this project’s quality level. The original film wasn’t well-reviewed, and hasn’t really garnered a sizeable after-the-fact following in the 17 years since it was released. But it made a bunch of money and didn’t cost much, so that’s as good a motivating factor as any in Hollywood.
Gellar’s interest level will be a decent barometer for how the script sounds, since she’s not someone who is constantly jumping at opportunities on TV and otherwise. In the years since she fronted the fan favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she’s only taken on two TV pilots out of the many she’s been offered, and those were the sitcom The Crazy Ones and the drama Ringer, both shortlived shows on CBS. She also joined Star Wars Rebels for Season 2, and will soon be seen on the upcoming TruTV comedy Those Who Can’t.
Cruel Intentions’ writer/director Roger Kumble is back for those same duties with the pilot, with the backing power of producer Neal H. Moritz along with Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross, the pair who put together the popular Unauthorized Musical Parody of Cruel Intentions. It should be interesting to see what happens next.