The brand new Ghostbusters movie has finally opened. Many of you probably think it came out months ago, since it's been pre-pre-reviewed so many times.
Why all the scrutiny, you ask? Because it's an all-female cast. Well, not really, there are male characters, but in this version, the four busters all have vaginas, and they didn't change the title! Perhaps we really are breaking the glass ceiling -- of a haunted house.
In the Ghostbusters movie, the women are playing women. They are not pretending to be men. It's not the only new production around with an all-female cast. In the new all-female Takarazura production of "Chicago" at Lincoln Center
, with women in the male roles, the talented women are celebrating the centennial of the founding of their all-female Japanese musical revue troupe.
What are women trying to prove, you might ask? Nothing. We are giving ourselves opportunities to perform, write, direct and produce and giving the public another perspective. Remember, we're talking about art here. There should not be gender boundaries, right?
I have some experience with all-female casts. I just finished playing Gremio in the all-female "Taming of the Shrew" in Central Park for the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park.
This particular play has been considered Shakespeare's most misogynistic, so why do it with all women? Well, one reason might be that for centuries, Shakespeare was performed with all male casts — sans the backlash. It seems that since the beginning of time, audiences have found it much more palatable to watch a man acting feminine than a woman acting masculine.
During rehearsals for "Shrew," we spent an enormous amount of time learning the physicality of men: taking up lots of space, not talking with your hands, leading from the crotch, and conveying that all-knowing sense of entitlement.
It was more than eye-opening, it was fun: no Spanx, no hose, no heels. It was liberating enough to make me only want to wear men's shoes for the rest of my life.
A male reviewer suggested that the women in drag exaggerated stereotypical male behavior, and that he had never seen a staging that made him laugh less. He also said that drag is funny when it's almost too perfect, and cited Brian Bedford, who appeared on Broadway as Lady Blackwell in "The Importance of Being Earnest" a few years ago.
Could it be that perhaps we were also too perfect, that men watching men being objectified isn't funny to them at all?
So why is there such an immediate backlash to a trailer of a remake of a classic movie? There have been lots of remakes that have bombed: "Poltergeist," "The Pink Panther," "Arthur," "Psycho," "Karate Kid," "Fame," to name a few. Was there this amount of vitriol toward the replacement actors? I highly doubt it. Would it have been better if they named it "Ghost Busterettes"?
What would happen if they remade "Eat Pray Love" with Brad Pitt? Would it be more appropriate to change the name to "Eat Pray F***"?
Let's roll with this.
Why not remake some classic films with women as the stars? In some cases, it could only be an improvement:
"The Godmother": An Italian woman's godson reluctantly joins the mafia and tries to maintain a normal life, but becomes morbidly obese after she keeps feeding him her world famous lasagna.
"Scarface": Antoinette Montana becomes the biggest drug lord in the state of Florida, controlling all the Botox that is trafficked through Miami. She is only stopped after she is unable to move any muscles in her face.
"Lethal Weapon": A woman becomes violent after the death of her husband. She ends up luring men into dark alleys and suffocating them with one of her extremely large breasts.
"Twelve Angry Women": A sequestered jury of all women end up all menstruating at the same time.
"The Blues Sisters": Two sisters decide to save the orphanage they grew up in by getting their old band back together and covering Nina Simone songs.
"The Dear Hunter": A woman joins the army after hunting for a husband, only to find herself on the front lines in the Vietnam War.
You see how easy this is?
I could go on, but I have to run out for my audition. It's for a new movie about a crime duo called "Cool Hand Liz."