Harvey Weinstein, co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company, announced today that a remake of the classic southern motion picture epic, Gone With The Wind, will have its worldwide premiere on March 1, 2015.
Reese Witherspoon fills the formidable window curtain hoop skirt once worn by actress Vivien Leigh, and Matthew McConaughey recreates the role forever identified with Hollywood legend Clark Gable.
One of the most influential films of the 20th century, 1939’s Gone With The Wind has always been considered untouchable in terms of ever being remade.
“It’s a God-awful idea,” said Robert Osborne, film historian and prime-time host of Turner Classic Movies. “Very rarely can you remake a classic in the league of Gone With The Wind and expect it to perform well at the box office. If it does, I’ll be just as surprised as everyone else. With all due respect to the actors, when I first heard about this, I laughed.”
Co-starring with Witherspoon and McConaughey are Swoosie Kurtz as “Melanie Hamilton,” Jude Law as “Ashley Wilkes,” Oprah Winfrey as “Mammy,” Dolly Parton as brothel owner “Belle Watling,” and Chris Rock as “Pork,” one of the many featured slaves on the Tara plantation. Tyler Perry, originally hired to portray “Mammy” in full drag, per his Madea character that stars in several films, withdrew from the project last year due to physical exhaustion.
In a bit of non-traditional casting, Jennifer Tilly portrays the simple-minded “Prissy,” and Queen Latifah adds to her impressive acting resumé with her role as “Aunt Pittypat.”
When asked for her reaction, 98-year-old Olivia de Havilland, the only surviving cast member from the 1939 film said, “You’ve got to be kidding!” Swoosie Kurtz to portray me? – I mean to portray ‘Melanie?’ I just don’t see it — nor shall I!” she huffed.
Bob Weinstein, the other half of The Weinstein Company, expressed optimism about the new project. “Hitchcock remade his own 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956, and the second movie was vastly better than his original. That’s just one example of ‘doing it right.’” That’s what we do here, we do it right. I guarantee this film will surprise all the nay-sayers and it’s going to be great,” he added.
As always, audiences and critics will ultimately decide the success or failure of what is fast becoming the hot topic of conversation throughout the motion picture industry.