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Speculating On The Future "Barbarella" TV Show From The Director Of Drive

By Rob Payne | Industry | June 21, 2012 |

By Rob Payne | Industry | June 21, 2012 |

Obviously, some remakes or reboots are more appealing and successful than others, but if there’s one movie property that is absolutely ripe for picking again, it would have to be Barbarella. With its ideas about excessively free love and the pandering nudity of its main attraction, a nubile Jane Fonda, the movie itself is very much a product of the time it was produced. 1968 to be exact; unfortunately a year too early to titter at that particular would-be thematic inappropriateness. But the main concept of a intergalactic spy who goes on daring missions through a stranger cosmos than we ever imagined, with a healthy dose of sexy sexy sex, is too perfect not to be revisted. In fact, it’s too perfect not to be an episodic TV show, most likely on cable, preferably of the paid variety. Which is why the news that Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive helmer, will produce and direct the rebooted televisual adaptation is probably, hopefully, more feasible — and more likely to be kick-ass — than either of Robert Rodriguez’s or Robert Luketic’s abandoned film remakes.

There’s no telling what kind of TV show Refn will ultimately make, but it probably won’t be “Emmanuelle in Space” whether it airs on Skinemax or not. Hell, at the moment, we don’t even know what networks could even be interested in “Barbarella” and that definitely makes a difference on the content of the show. It would completely miss the point, considering the director’s movies, if it aired on any other channels besides HBO, Starz, Showtime, or even Netflix. There’s a lot of greatness coming out of AMC and FX, but they still have limits that an adaptation would need to be truly faithful. The network might also determine the casting, in that some actresses potentially filling Jane Fonda’s transparent spacesuit might be more willing than others to, well, fully commit to the role. I loathe the phrase “tits or get the fuck out,” but with Barbarella? Well, that’s sort of her raison d’etre. It wouldn’t have to be on the level of “Spartacus” or “Game of Thrones” to work, either.

Since this news is so fresh, the possibilities of who will play the titular 41st century astronaut are wide open, but I think there are a few working actresses who could definitely do the earlier incarnation justice, regardless of nudity clauses. These women also happen to be fairly attractive. So, you’re welcome.

Christina Hendricks
Obviously, right? She’s familiar with acting in space. She’s worked with Refn in the past and she’s the woman he thinks ought to be the next Wonder Woman. Depending on her “Mad Men” commitment, why shouldn’t she be the next Barbarella?

Isla Fisher
She’s probably most known for Wedding Crashers, where she played Vince Vaughn’s nymphomaniac love interest, but… No. No, forcing yourself to be attracted to latter-day Vaughn is all the experience you need to bed space aliens.

Diora Baird
She was also in Wedding Crashers with Fisher, as possibly the most memorable of the sex montage girls. She was also in the Star Trek reborquel as another green-skinned Starfleet cadet, but was cut out. I don’t actually know if she’s a good actress, but she definitely looks the part.

Alexandra Breckenridge
She’s best known for the exact opposite of episodic TV, coming from serialized (spoiler alert) anthology series “American Horror Story.” If that performance is any indication, then her Barbarella could feel right at home in the inevitable XXX parody. And it totally worked on FX.

Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his wares can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He’s been thinking of Diora Baird as Barbarella for years.

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