How did it take this long for Dino De Laurentiis to finance another romp in the space age boudoir with Barbarella? The character, a creation of French comic book artist Jean-Claude Forest, is a liberated gal who gallivants about the cosmos in various states of undress – in other words, the favorite pastime of such club-hopping, boy-stealing, cootch-flashing trollops as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Henry Kissinger. If nothing else, casting a new Barbarella should be a very easy, if very horizontal affair.
Actually, the rights to Forest’s heroine have bounced around a bit in the last decade. Most recently, the project was being developed as a potential star vehicle for Drew Barrymore, with John "Old Things Suck" August writing the screenplay. Now that De Laurentiis has reacquired the property, he’s going to hand it over to the scripting team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who are still being celebrated for their Haggis-enhanced resuscitation of the Bond franchise with Casino Royale – never mind that they played a huge part in nearly throttling the life out of the series with The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day (though someone deserves a special Nobel Dunce Prize for that invisible car).
Today’s Variety story alleges that Purvis and Wade are going to re-imagine Barbarella as a free, modern gal who survives in a futuristic world through her intelligence, fighting skills and sexuality, which makes it sound like the film is being developed as an insipid, husband/wife, directing/acting deal for either Len Wiseman and Kate Beckinsale or Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich. What an awesomely terrible idea. Even though Roger Vadim’s Barbarella is a leering bore (even with a screenplay from the great Terry Southern… and about seven not-so-great others), the sensual opulence of it is worth retaining. If the movie is going to be a "female-oriented Matrix" as John August suggests over at his blog, why even bother to call it Barbarella? The decadence is the whole goddamn point.
Purvis and Wade are scheduled to begin writing as soon as they’re free-and-clear of Bond 22. Start dialing down those expectations – that is, if you’re a big ol’ perv like me.