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The Return of "Barbarella"

Can Robert Wade and Neal Purvis do for Barbarella what they did for James Bond? That's the hope of producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis, who are finishing up a deal that will have the two screenwriters remolding the 1960s character as more of an independent woman who uses skills and intelligence to survive in a sci-fi world.

As anyone who's seen "Casino Royale" knows, Wade and Purvis took a stagnant and out-of-date franchise and, by going back to the basics of the source material, reinvented a cultural icon--no small feat. Just as James Bond is known mainly by his film incarnations, so too is Barbarella known--by the campy 1968 film adaptation starring Jane Fonda.

But Barbarella as a character actually stems from a French comic strip that first appeared in 1962. The brainchild of Jean-Claude Forest, her sexy sci-fi adventures were first serialized in V-Magazine, and then later appeared in book form. In the case of the new film, it is hoped to republish the books in concert with an eventual release, to reintroduce Barbarella to a new audience.

Was the seminal Ms. B any different from the sexpot kitten portrayed by Jane Fonda? Dunno. But indications this time around are that she will be a much stronger, less silly character at any rate. Maybe Helen Mirren will take the title role, once she's finished with that sequel to "National Treasure."

De Laurentiis was also producer on the first film. In addition to comics and film, "Barbarella" has seen life as a musical, with music by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

Source: Variety.

Posted by on April 12, 2007 11:18 AM
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