Teen movies – much like actual teens – come in all shapes and sizes. For the lovers of raunchy comedy, there’s American Pie. For those looking for a little relationship drama with their sex and drug jokes, there’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High. For seekers of a more realistic look at the struggles and pressures of high school, there are films like The Breakfast Club. Finally, for those looking for a more cynical take on teen life, there’s a movie like Heathers, which presents a world in which high school feuds can literally carry life and death stakes.
Directed by Michael Lehmann and written by Daniel Waters, Heathers centered on Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder), a new addition to Westerburg High School’s popular girl clique. True to the title, the other three girls in the group were all named Heather. Before long, Veronica grew tired of the Heathers’ selfish ways, and fell out with the group. They then embarked on a smear campaign to ruin her reputation, leading Veronica to enlist the help of rebellious outsider J.D. (Christian Slater). Unfortunately, J.D.’s idea of revenge includes homicide, which is not at all what Veronica had in mind when they agreed to join forces.
With the current trend of adapting movies into TV series continuing unabated, TV Land opted to hop on board the bandwagon back in September, ordering a pilot for a TV series based on Heathers. Envisioned as an anthology featuring a different setting and storylines each season, TV Land’s Heathers reboot will initially adapt the plot of the film, albeit updated for modern societal sensibilities. The lead characters have previously been cast, and today brings with it another new addition to the mix: the original Heather Duke herself, Shannen Doherty. The actress confirmed the news via her Instagram account.
Doherty would go on to become best known for playing Brenda Walsh on the hit ’90s drama Beverly Hills 90210, and would later go on to portray co-lead Prue Halliwell on The WB’s Charmed. She also played Rene in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats. In recent months, Doherty has been publicly battling breast cancer, and has received public messages of support from several of her former co-stars. TV Land is keeping the identity of Doherty’s character in the Heathers TV series under wraps for now, but her role is said to be a “pivotal” one.
Sadly, Doherty is likely to be the only original Heather to make an appearance on the TV reboot, as Kim Walker – who played dominant leader Heather Chandler – died of a brain tumor back in 2001 at the all too young age of 32, and Lisanne Falk – who played Heather McNamara – hasn’t acted since 2002. Still, Doherty’s inclusion will offer fans of the original Heathers a much-needed incentive to tune in to a reboot that flips the script on the film’s premise in quite a few ways.
Production on TV Land’s Heathers is underway, but no premiere date has been announced.