Hoping to capitalize on ’80s nostalgia and the current popular trend of anthology series, the Paramount Network is launching Heathers in 2018, a 10-episode TV reboot of the cult favorite film. Originally starring Winona Ryder (Stranger Things), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), and Shannen Doherty (90210), the new series is only loosely based on the original dark comedy about mean girls and murderous revenge plots.
The different take on Heathers focuses on three outcasts named Heather who somehow became the reigning royalty at school — a black lesbian (Jasmine Mathews), an overweight girl (Melanie Field), and a man who identifies as gender queer (Brendan Scannell). Grace Victoria Cox plays new girl Veronica, and James Scully plays J.D., the characters originated by Ryder and Slater. Last year, Doherty revealed she’d be appearing in the reboot, though her “pivotal” role is being kept a secret so far.
The latest casting news isn’t so mysterious, however. Selma Blair (American Crime Story) announced she’s appearing on Heathers via her Instagram, which you can see below. According to Deadline, Blair plays Jade, stepmother to Heather Duke (Scannell). She’s described as a menthol-smoking, gold-digging stripper who is just waiting for her 82-year-old husband to die.
Blair’s big break was on the big screen with Cruel Intentions, a 1999 high school mean girl version of the 18th century romantic tragedy, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Though Blair played the naive innocent in that film, her Instagram indicates she’s enjoying a racier role for Heathers. The actress has plenty of experience in comedy, with roles on Anger Management, Web Therapy, Kath & Kim, and the film Legally Blonde, so she’ll likely do well with what is sounding like an exaggerated caricature of a character.
Blair’s post also notes with the hashtag that this will be premiering on the new Paramount Network next year, rather than on TV Land in the fall as previously announced. The Paramount channel is actually a re-branding of Spike TV, and will be debuting with content from TV Land, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Heathers would have been TV Land’s first hour-long original series, so the network may have decided to keep that channel’s format as is and use the show to launch Paramount.
That sounds like a vote of confidence from the Viacom owners, though viewers may be more skeptical. A more detailed plot for Heathers is not yet known, so it’s not totally clear how a comedy potentially about high school violence will play out in the modern era. The CW has found surprise success with Riverdale, a modern murder-mystery update of the wholesome Archie Comics, so Paramount may yet find a way to make a reboot of this ’80s classic work for their new audience.
Heathers will premiere on the Paramount Network in 2018.
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