Terms such as “darker, grittier, edgier” get thrown around a lot when it comes to the collection of remakes/reboots in the works around Hollywood right now. Even the lovable robot Johnny 5 is getting a darker makeover in the Short Circuit reboot, so that the character might resonate better with contemporary adult moviegoers and members of Generation Y. As it turns out, he won’t be alone in that regard.
Reports are in that Sony is developing a live-action movie reboot of the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch franchise. The film will offer an “edgier” take on the underage sorceress, who originated as a member of the Archie comic strip (back in the 1960s) and has been the basis for three animated TV series – though, the ’90s live-action sitcom featuring Melissa Joan Hart as the character, remains perhaps the most famous iteration.
Screenwriting duo Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari are set to pen the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch reboot. That pair (which wrote the impending Die in a Gunfight) will work from a presentation co-developed by Mean Girls director Mark Waters and fellow scribe Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia). Waters may also end up helming the project, which Deadline describes as follows:
The precocious teen witch who originated in 60s ‘Archie’ Comics, is being recast as a superhero. The live action film will be an origin story in the vein of ‘Spider-Man’, about a young girl coming to terms with her remarkable powers.
Not-so-coincidentally, Sony will also be offering an edgier treatment of the Peter Parker story this summer with The Amazing Spider-Man. Seeing how that “modernized” variation on a familiar franchise is expected to prove pretty lucrative for the studio, it makes sense that a similar approach would be taken to revamping other established properties with immediate brand recognition.
Those efforts could pave the way for a take on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch that bears a strong resemblance to The Avengers director Joss Whedon’s original Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series – with its protofeminist spin on the classic superhero mythos, a coming of age storyline and a star-crossed romance subplot (a la Buffy and Angel), as mentioned in Deadline‘s scoop:
While the tone of the movie will be edgier, they are keeping her talking black cat Salem, who here is a transformed prince creating unique love stories for Sabrina.
Sabrina, the Teenage Witch therefore looks to become the latest in an increasingly long line of movies that rework older feminine archetypes into more “modernized” female characters (Brave, Snow White and the Huntsman, etc.). Depending on how that task is handled, this could actually be a worthwhile, if peculiar, reworking of an older idea – and a far less controversial one than, say, the Ninja Turtles reboot…
We will keep you posted on the status of the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch reboot as the story develops.