First it was Ghostbusters. Then, last week, it was The Rocketeer. Now, Ron Howard’s 1984 comedy Splash will get the gender reversal treatment. Channing Tatum and Jillian Bell have signed on to lead the re-imagining, but this time, Tatum will play a merman while Bell plays the hapless human who finds her heart taken by the seaman. Howard and Brian Gazer, who also produced the original, are attached through their production label, Imagine Entertainment. The response to this one should be interesting.
Bell apparently came up with the pitch for this new take on the familiar fantasy romantic comedy. She and Tatum previously worked together on 22 Jump Street and in an recent episode of Bell’s Comedy Central sitcom Idiotsitter. Tatum, in addition to starring in this remake, will also produce alongside his work partner, Reid Carolin, and Peter Kieran. Additionally, Marja-Lewis Ryan (the upcoming Liked) has been hired to write the screenplay. Other than that, details are limited on this one.
While the idea to switch genders on various ’80s-’90s properties will likely grow stale sooner than later, this is a rather intriguing idea. Beyond Aquaman, obviously, mermen have rarely been brought onto the big screen, especially in comedy form. Hopefully, they’ll tackle the material in a way that doesn’t make it merely a gimmick. Time will tell, but I’m willing to give this one a shot — especially if they get the right director involved.
Bell continues to climb the professional ladder. She also has Office Christmas Party, Fist Fight and Rock That Body, which is something of a gender-swapped Very Bad Things, on the horizon. While I’m not a huge fan of her work, she impressed me in The Night Before and Inherent Vice. I hope that trend continues. Tatum, meanwhile, remains busy as ever. He had a wonderfully scene-stealing turn in Hail, Caesar! earlier this year, and he’s currently filming a role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle. He also has Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, MIB 23 and Gambit on the horizon, among other projects.