Five Possible Jeannies for the Big Screen 'I Dream of Jeannie'
by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 21st 2010 1:03PM
Another week, another story from Hollywood about a beloved TV show being turned into a feature film. Last week it was 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' and this week it's ... 'I Dream of Jeannie.' Yes, yes, they've talked about this one before. But that was then and this is now and the Los Angeles Times reports that 'I Dream of Jeannie' is back on with Sheila Callaghan, one of the scribes on 'United States of Tara,' has been handed the assignment. That means whatever the writers from 'National Treasure' and 'Mulan' and 'Bend It Like Beckham' who've taken a swing at it in the past few years weren't able to make it work.
There is an essential problem with 'Jeannie,' as anyone who knows the shows realizes. How do you make the story of a love-crazed, subservient slave-like genie who lives in a bottle and calls her astronaut boyfriend master relevant. That's a tough nut to crack, but maybe casting the role of Jeannie would be a start.
So, here's our idea of five actresses -- primarily movie stars -- who would bring something new and different to the role Barbara Eden made famous:
1. Scarlett Johansson. For starters, she's adorable. That's a prerequisite for the Jeannie role because her aggressiveness and antiquated notions have to be lovable. Scarlett has all the talent in the world, proving that with 'Lost in Translation,' 'Vicky Christina Barcelona' among other movies. She also has a flair for comedy, which is a must because 'I Dream of Jeannie,' is a sitcom.
2. Reese Witherspoon. The Oscar-winning actress has all the qualities needed for a Jeannie, even the cute and perky spunk that Barbara Eden brought to the role. Reese also has the charisma thing that made material like 'Legally Blonde,' essentially a goofy comedy, really work. She'd make Jeannie's quirky ways endearing and sweet. And she'd look great as Jeaney, Jeannie's brunette sister, too.
3. Kate Hudson. It's nearly impossible to watch Kate Hudson and not be reminded of her mother, Goldie Hawn, who in that era would have been a great choice for Jeannie. So, when you imagine Kate in the role, you can appreciate how her kooky sensibilities would make Jeannie hilarious. Kate also showed in 'Nine' that she's got the dance moves to entice Tony, not to mention show off her belly-button. Did you know that NBC censors wouldn't allow Barbara Eden to show hers back in the day?
4. Cameron Diaz. There's something about Cameron. She already has experience re-creating a TV role to the big screen -- one of the angels in 'Charlie's Angels' -- and she brings great charm to her performances, especially the comedies. With Jeannie, she'd use that slightly loopy thing that makes her Princess Fiona such a hoot in the 'Shrek' movies.
5. Uma Thurman. If you're looking for a more unusual and exotic Jeannie, then we're talking about Uma. She might be just right for Jeannie. And if they were to make Jeannie a more pro-active character, more self-possessed, Uma has the kick-ass history from her 'Kill Bill' movie experience to defend Tony without any need for blinking and doing magic. Can't you just see Uma writhing in a puff of smoke from the bottle?
Okay, these are our ideas. What about yours? Assuming this movie does finally reach fruition, what movie star are you hoping will be making a home in the bottom of that genie bottle?